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.

 

Image by Bhakti Iyata from Pixabay 

 

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?

 

Photo by PNG Design on Unsplash

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?

 

 

 

Photo by Mael BALLAND on Unsplash

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?

  

Photo credit:  https://pixabay.com/en/lamp-light-tea-light-lantern-639489/

Men, Purpose, & Finding Clarity in Life

One afternoon, I was enjoying deeper-level conversation with my friend Randy over a cup of coffee when he said something I won’t forget.

“Taking care of my wife and kids is my great responsibility before God,” he said. “They have been given to me on loan to take care of. It’s my job to ensure that I give them my best—with God’s guidance—and to leave a legacy that not only draws out their best but also affects the generations to come.”

Wow, I thought. Those are the words of a man who knows his purpose in life. 

It’s inspiring and thought-provoking to talk to people who live with purpose. Don’t we all wish we knew, with crystal clarity, what our lives are supposed to be about? Knowing and being confident in our purpose sets us free to fully live.

But most of us make a couple of classic mistakes when it comes to pursuing purpose in life. 

First, we try to find our purpose in the wrong places: in what we do, what we have, or what other people think of us. Yet no matter how much we chase these things—and I’ve chased them all —our jobs and accomplishments, our money and possessions, and our social status — we won’t find the deep truth of why we are here on the planet. Only our Creator and Father can do that.

Second, those of us who do look to God to define our purpose often stop short of discovering the level of clarity we need to be able to live from our purpose in every area of our lives. We try to discover “God’s will” for our spiritual life, family, career, health, finances, and community, and then do our best to run after those things. 

For many years, I took this fragmented approach to purpose. I tried strategies and formulas to help me look at the different areas of my life. I wrote down complex plans for who I was called to be and what I was called to accomplish. Yet I never got clarity around the unifying purpose behind these separate purposes, and it became exhausting trying to stay on top of them all.

I believe that God has a specific purpose for each of our lives that He wants us to know and live from, and this purpose connects to His larger purposes for humanity. 

We are all here to know Him, receive His love, love others, and grow into a mature expression of Christ. We are all sons and daughters who have been brought into the family mission of God—to see His kingdom come and His will be done in the earth. 

But each of us has a unique and essential part to play in that mission, and understanding our part is critical for navigating choices in our daily lives.

After that conversation with Randy, I went back and started challenging myself to formulate a clearer purpose and mission statement for my life. I discussed my thoughts with my spiritual mentors, spent time praying and listening for the Holy Spirit’s insight, and wrote down a list of ideas. In the end, here’s what I came up with:

My life mission, my one thing,
is to be a conduit for the power of God
to bring to light the potential in mind, body, and spirit that lies in others
so that they may complete their assignment in life.

It’s pretty simple. As a father, a strength and conditioning coach, a speaker, a leader, a friend, and a follower of Jesus, my purpose is to partner with God in helping others discover and fulfill their purpose.

This purpose statement has made things so much clearer to me. Getting out of bed with this as my driving force allows me to focus the many possibilities of how to spend my day into one meaningful direction. 

Though any number of interruptions or changes may present themselves in my schedule, I don’t have to live a single moment that is not on purpose. Whether I am with my family, at work, with friends, or at church, I am there to help others reach their potential and fulfill their assignment.

This clarity also helps me to see where I need to invest my time and resources proactively so I can fulfill my purpose more effectively. 

At the same time, knowing my purpose also breaks off worry or insecurity that I won’t have what I need to do what I was created to do. When our Creator makes us, He provides what we need to fulfill our purpose. When our Father gives us an assignment, He backs it up with the resources we need. All we have to do is trust Him and step out in what He is leading us to do.

So what about you? Do you know your purpose?

(P.S: I recommend Start With Why by Simon Sinek and The One Thing by Gary Keller for more ideas on creating your own life’s purpose statement.)

Photo by Tim Huyghe on Unsplash 

Understanding God's Mission For Your Life

God placed you here with a mission.

You and I are part of a grand design to heal the divorce between heaven and earth. We are called to partner with the Holy Spirit and reverse the effects of sin, strife, division, and bondage in the world.

It’s God’s mission. Our “big picture” mission.

It’s our “why.” To bring heaven to earth.

In his book Start With Why, Simon Sinek argues that the most successful organizations determine their “why” before engaging in the “how” or the “what” of their work. Because those companies begin by figuring out why they do what they do, they successfully build a loyal base of followers who believe in the same purpose.

We have the same potential in our own lives. If we begin by understanding why God put us here, we can find absolute clarity about the path our lives should take.

Like Jesus during His time on earth, we’ll have perfect clarity about our assignment here. We’ll know when to say yes and when to say no because we’ll be perfectly aligned with our purpose. That clarity will guide every decision we make.

Then, when we understand our “why,” we can begin to think about the “what.”

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” 

John 14:12

Simply put, we are called to do the same work Jesus did during His time on earth. Our job description is to love people. He demonstrated God’s love with a passionate, sacrificial love that rescued people from hurt and bondage. We’re called to do the same.

Once we understand the “why” and the “what,” we can work to understand the “how.” 

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” 

Col 3:2-3

When we replace our old ways of doing things and our former ways of thinking, our hearts and minds will be overhauled. Our lives will manifest the kingdom because our motivation and behavior will be like that of Jesus.

The men of Junto Tribe want our own purpose statements to reflect the Father. We are working every day to understand how our individual lives align with His kingdom.

We are working to clarity about our assignment here and to use that clarity to make daily decisions. We’ll focus on things that align perfectly with our purpose and we’ll decline everything else.

When we understand our identity, we’ll find clarity and decisiveness that the world is incapable of providing.

Together the men of Junto tribe are seeking God’s mission. Are you willing to join us on the journey?

  

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

4 Truths That Help You Discover Your Purpose

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth… You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world… 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)

When you understand your role in God’s plan, your focus changes. Your priorities change. You manage your time and resources differently because you understand your role in the larger picture

As you discover your purpose, you learn that we have a common mission together, and you have a unique mission of your own. 

If that sounds contradictory, consider a football team whose common mission is to outscore the opponent and win the game. Then consider the quarterback, whose role during the game is different than that of his linemen. 

Our distinct purpose on earth originates in four truths that will help you discover your purpose.  

1.  God made each of us in His own image.

We’re designed to be like Him, and we’re created to live like Him. 

Like any earthly father, He teaches us how to live. 

God created us to be body, spirit, and soul. We are three-dimensional, and we were designed to thrive through spiritual connection with Him. 

When we deeply connect with Him, we effortlessly discover our design and our own potential, because we’re connected to the One who created us.

2.  Jesus lived and modeled the human life.

Jesus provides a picture of what earthly manhood should look like, but sometimes we misunderstand it. 

We assume discipleship means reading our Bibles, praying, avoiding sin, and leading others to salvation, but Jesus’ life included so much more.

He came to earth to reveal the Father and unify people. He calls us to love each other the same way He loves us.

3.  God wants us to know our purpose.

God won’t hide our purposes from us. In fact, Jesus revealed our purposes during His time on earth.  

We are to live our lives so that people discover their own identities in God. We do that through love, honor, sacrifice, and service to our fellow man. 

When we pursue excellence in our daily jobs and in all of our relationships – as dads, husbands, brothers, and friends – we point people toward God. We become the salt and light we were designed to be. 

4.  Our self-worth doesn’t originate with us. 

We struggle when we try to define our own worth. 

When we strive and we anguish to prove our value in the world, we end up dissatisfied and exhausted because the world’s values differ from God’s kingdom values. 

Our value exists in finding God’s power within us and sharing that with a world that is hungry for something authentic and meaningful. 

The enemy wants us to be skeptical of these truths. In fact, he will whisper his own ideas about you every chance he gets, because he needs you to doubt who you are. 

The men of Junto Tribe believe that our lives bear the fruit of the choices we’ve made. We’ve either embraced God’s truth, or we’ve fallen victim to the enemy’s lies. But the good news is that today is a new day. 

Join us on the journey to become salt and light. Ask God to help you recognize the times you’ve believed the wrong voice. 

Write these four truths down and post them somewhere that you’ll see them often. Review them until you believe them.

Take time today to write down 3 areas of your life (ie. work, family, friends) that you want to be more intentional in.  Write down what you discover, then pray and meditate on it with focus and longing.  Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance on how you can be more like Jesus in those areas and watch what happens.

 

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Men, Self-Mastery, & Renewed Focus for the New Year

Tomorrow marks a natural reset opportunity.

Powered by hope and optimism, many of us will launch into a new year determined to be better than we were last year.

But better at what? And why does it matter?

When I speak to groups of military guys, firefighters, community leaders, and business owners/operators -- primarily Type A personalities -- I love to ask a single question:

Who in this room doesn’t want to perform at an optimized level?

They usually laugh at me when I ask.

Maybe it’s because their safety often relies on self-mastery. Or maybe it’s because they inherently understand how their own performance impacts the people around them. Perhaps it’s simply their relentless drive that initially drew them to these positions in the first place.

Working with them has taught me that when we understand what we’re preparing for, our motivation changes. When I discovered my own desire to help my community achieve self-mastery, it clarified everything I do.

Because I understand my goal of guiding people to their own purposes, I approach interruptions differently. I use my resources differently. I manage my time differently.

I also respond to insecurity differently because I understand what God created me to do. I remind myself that He provides the resources and the ability to carry out what He has asked us to do.

The men of Junto Tribe believe that we share a mission to carry out God’s will on earth.

We are called to love people and bear good fruit. As men, that means we should father, lead, serve, and protect. We must help others discover their own identity in Christ.

Everything we do in life – whether it’s raising a family, leading a team, doing chores, playing sports, or creating a solution to a problem – should be aligned with this mission.

Beyond that, though, we each have a mission that is uniquely ours. Within His call to love others, each of us has a unique and essential part to play in that mission, and understanding our part is critical for navigating choices in our daily lives.

It will change how we approach life and how we invest our time. It will force us to reset our priorities and revisit our commitments.

The men of Junto Tribe will use the new year to seek God’s specific purposes. We will pray, ask the Holy Spirit for insight, and talk to spiritual mentors so we can discover God’s specific purpose for our lives.  

We’d love for you to join us on this journey.

Understanding our purpose changes our motivations. Achieving self-mastery impacts the people around us.

Who will benefit when you discover God’s purpose for your life?


What's Important to Jesus?

Do we really understand what’s important to Jesus?

It’s easy to slip into thinking that Jesus’ priorities come down to reading our Bible, praying, not sinning, and getting people saved. But is that what He modeled in His own life on earth?

Jesus’ final prayer before going to the cross gives an amazing description of how He understood His priorities and assignment.

Jesus came to reveal the Father:

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me . . .”

John 17:6-8

Since the dawn of time, it has been our Father’s heart to reveal His true nature and character to us in His pursuit of relationship with us. In fact, one of the meanings for Jehovah, God’s name, is “self-revealing.”

Jesus is the final step in that process of the Father’s self-revelation.

“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only (Jesus), who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”

John 1:18

Jesus shows us who the Father is, and what we see is that God is not harsh, distant, or punishing, but a good, compassionate, forgiving, kind, strong Father who will stop at nothing—even the death of His Son—to restore us as His children.

Jesus revealed a Father who loves us with an everlasting, perfect love and whose sole desire is for us to be with Him for eternity.

Jesus also came to bring people together in unity through love:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

John 17:20-26

Jesus came to restore us to one another because we were created to belong to one another.

Throughout human history, we have sought to belong to tribes and groups that are often oppressive, dysfunctional, destructive, and divisive. Jesus came to reverse this pattern.

His hope for His disciples is that we are known most for our love: love for other believers, regardless of denomination or church identity, and also for others who do not follow Him.

“My command is this… Love each other as I have loved you.”

John 15:12

Junto Tribe seeks to be the kind of group that loves unconditionally and belongs to one another. We want to show the world the true power and meaning of the gospel. We’re seeking what’s important to Jesus.

We hope you’ll join us in this effort, because your circle of influence includes people that you’re uniquely positioned to impact.

On this Christmas Eve, consider that your mission here is the same as His: to reveal the Father and to unite His people.

How will you continue His mission?

Men, Self-Mastery, & Our Spiritual Training Ground

“If you knew you would be in a fight tomorrow for your life, how would you train today?”

Perhaps it’s an easier question for the special operators I work with because their daily mission calls them to an obvious fight.

In my role as a human performance specialist, I prepare them to perform at their highest levels, so they can move effectively, efficiently, and safely inside their environment. In a word, so they can survive.

But what about the rest of us? For those of us whose daily job doesn’t include the same mission, does the question still matter?

I believe it does.

Whether we admit it or not, many of us are plagued by a desire to know whether we’re strong enough. Or successful enough. Or whether we’re performing at our very highest levels.

We wonder if we’ve got what it takes, but most of us have no idea what we’re training for. We don’t fully understand that we’re training for a specific task that Jesus calls us to on earth.

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20

The mission of every true follower of Christ is to make disciples. We are called to get into the thick of things. To love people. To walk alongside those who are struggling and brokenhearted.

Jesus never called us to be spectators. He called us to engage with the world around us.

But ours is also a spiritual training ground where we learn to follow Him so that we can do the work we’ve been called to do.

In my own life, it means that I’m working toward self-mastery so I can share what I’ve learned with other people. I’m working to develop myself to the highest level and grow every day so that I can impact my community, my coworkers, my family, my church, and my society.

I want to make the world a better place and leave a legacy for the people around me.

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”

1 Cor 9:24-27 

We’re in the midst of a spiritual training ground, and the people around us are depending on us to perform at our highest levels.

The men of Junto Tribe are actively training for the mission God has given us. We’re engaged with the world around us and we’re training today for a fight tomorrow.

We don’t have to wonder if we have what it takes, because we know that God has equipped us for the work He has called us to do.

Join the tribe. Train your body, mind, and spirit for the fight that is coming.

Will you say yes to the journey of daily spiritual training so you are always equipped to stand victorious in the day of battle?

Human Performance, Seeking Purpose, & Training the Whole Man

People often ask me why I train so hard, and I always give the same simple answer.

Human performance is more than training for a game or a battle. It’s training for life.

I learned this the hard way, about a year into my job training tactical athletes in the U.S. special operations community. An entire team of men that I worked with was shot out of the sky in Afghanistan, and no one survived.  

These men who had become my friends had no opportunity to defend themselves. These fathers, husbands, sons, and friends had trusted me to prepare them for combat, and I wondered if I had done enough.

In the time since their deaths, I’ve learned the truth that we are more than physical beings. We aren’t just a configuration of bone, muscle, connective tissue, and brains. We’re much more than what we see in the mirror. 

We are body, soul, and spirit—tripartite beings, made in the image of the three-person God. 

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Thessalonians 5:23

As a human performance coach, I now understand the importance of training the whole man. 

We constantly hear about the importance of diet and exercise and their health benefits for our bodies. Those are facts. But physical training affects the other dimensions of our being, and vice versa.

“If the body is sick the mind worries and the spirit grieves; if the mind is sick the body and the spirit will suffer from its confusion; if the spirit is sick there will be no will to care for the body or mind.”

 J. R. Worsely

 

So not only is it true that sickness in one area will negatively impact the others; it’s also true that improving health in each area improves health in the others.

Spiritual health affects soul and physical health. Physical health affects spiritual and soul health, and soul health affects the health of spirit and body. It is of absolute importance that we take care of each of these three dimensions of our being if we’re ever to find complete health.

The men of Junto Tribe are on a quest to align body, mind, and spirit in service to the One who created them. We are learning that our value originates from God’s purpose for our lives rather than from the work we do, our material success, or our personal gain. 

God has a unique purpose for each of us, and though my journey won’t look exactly like yours, there are certain roles that each of us is created to fill. When we seek our marching orders from God, we’ll discover our purpose here and we’ll be less likely to believe the lies that the world tells us.  

If you’ve never seriously considered your purposes here on earth, join us on the journey. Check out the website. Read our previous messages. Learn the seven archetypes that Jesus revealed as God’s design for men. 

Share this blog post with someone else: if not publicly, then via email or some other private exchange. 

Your corner of the world needs what you have to offer

What can you share today?

 

 

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

Men, Identity, & Why Your Job Isn't the Right Place to Find It

Ten years ago, if I had met you face to face, I would have asked what kind of work you do, mainly to get you to ask me the same.

I would have wanted you to know what kind of work I did, because my identity was tied to my work. I was a strength and conditioning coach, and I believed it defined who I was.

The same is true of many of the men I encounter in my daily activities.

“I’m a CEO.”

“I’m a military special operator.”

“I’m a general contractor.”

Pick your title.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that we’ve got it exactly wrong. Our identity isn’t determined by what we do.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I learned this lesson as a young boy who grew up with allergies, asthma, and other skin disorders that kept me from participating in normal childhood activities. I couldn’t eat the same foods or play the same sports.

I grew up believing I was weak and unlovable. I didn’t believe I would ever be successful because my identity was tied to the things I was able to do.

But then I stumbled onto exercise, and I figured out I was good at it, and it made me feel better. Being strong became my identity and it became a sort of obsession in my life. I was trying to figure out who I was, and fitness was the metric I used to measure my success.

The problem with that kind of thinking is that there’s ample research to suggest that when we lack a sense of purpose, it drives us to addictive behaviors. In some cases, that takes the form of alcohol, drugs, or pornography. In other cases, even healthy activities can become addictive. 

Now, instead of being a boy whose identity was tied to the things he could do, I was a man with the same kind of thinking. Exercise became an addictive behavior for me because I was trying to find myself by doing more.

So what happens to the special operator who loses a limb in combat and who can no longer continue to serve in the same capacity as before? What happens to the little boy who can’t do all the things that everyone else can?

If our identity is tied to what we do, when we’re no longer able to do those things, our identity falls away. Or in my case, when none of my achievements ever seemed to be enough, I found myself struggling with a single question:

“Am I good enough?”

If we listen to the wrong voices, we’re likely to believe the lie that we aren’t good enough. We’ll misunderstand who we are and why we’re here.

If, on the other hand, we listen to what our Creator has to say, we’ll hear a completely different message.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.”

Psalm 139:13-15

Junto Tribe was born of a desire to help men find their true identity in Christ.

The men of Junto Tribe understand that the world needs us to embrace our true purpose. The world needs us to display the same strength Jesus did during His time here on earth.

We’ve spent too long listening to lies, and we’re seeking the truth together. We’re seeking to ditch our false identities and claim our true ones.

When we surround ourselves with others on the same journey, we can combat the world’s lies and reinforce God’s truths. We can encourage each other along the way and improve the world around us.

Join us in our journey. God has so much more in store for us all.

 

Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash 

 

 

 

Your Legacy As a Father Extends Far Beyond Your Children

No matter how valuable you are in your job, it isn’t the most important work you’ll ever do. Though your company no doubt appreciates your contributions, your organization will eventually forget you when you leave.

None of us are irreplaceable. Except in our role as fathers.

One Sunday morning as my family climbed out of our truck in the church parking lot, my daughter held her arms up to me expecting me to pick her up. When I did, she wrapped her arms around me and told me I was her hero.

Without moments like this, many of us fail to understand the elevated position we hold in the minds of our kids.

We will impact our children in lasting ways, whether we give them our very best or less than our best. Our legacy will shape our children and our children’s children, which means we shoulder a powerful responsibility.

We are their strength when they don’t have strength. Their guides in a world that seeks to destroy them. Their nurturers, providers, and comforters. The love of their lives.

We must stand strong at the threshold and fight with endurance and determination to serve them and give them the best chance of succeeding in this big, unpredictable world. We are their protectors and defenders.

These children are not our own. They are God’s children, born in His image and loved deeply by Him. They have been given life for a reason and purpose, and we have a responsibility to help them discover it. The decisions we make today will impact future generations.

It sounds simple, but the tension in our lives results from trying to find balance in a world that pulls us in dozens of directions.

We must prioritize our work outside of home because it allows us to provide for our families, but not to the extent that we sacrifice our family’s well-being. Even after a long day of work when we have nothing left to give, we have to be present for our children.

The men of Junto Tribe are seeking to fulfill God’s challenge for us as fathers. We understand that it will never be easy but it’s the most important responsibility we’ll ever have.

We’d love for you to join us on the journey.

Begin by evaluating your own calendar. If it’s true that our time reflects where our priorities lie, do your kids enjoy a portion of your time each day?

We will shape the future one way or another: either because we led well or because we abdicated our role as leaders in our families.

“One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.”

Psalm 145:4-5

What are you doing today to prepare your children for life?

 

 

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Success, Trust, & Why Men Must Overcome Their Fear

“What are you scared of?” I asked myself.

I had been struggling with my life’s direction for quite some time, and my uncertainty was turning to despair.

Because I’ve always been a fighter, I dug deeper. I asked God for guidance. I read books, asked questions, and prayed, and I eventually realized I was struggling with fear.

But it wasn’t simply the fear of failure that most people deal with. I had learned over the years that I had to be okay with failing from time to time. I wrestled with it, but I knew it was unavoidable.

What I hadn’t expected was the realization that I feared success even more than failure.

I was scared of my own possibilities for success. I was scared of the power that God had given me in the workplace, community, church, and at home. I didn’t fully trust myself with this power.

I know that might sound like arrogance, but in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

I discovered that the issue of not trusting myself was rooted in the much bigger problem of not trusting God. Not trusting that He is, in fact, living inside me and craving to partner with me and co-labor with me.

I didn’t really believe that I was “faithfully and wonderfully made.” As a result, everything I did was conflicted with inner anxiety, doubt, and insecurity.

Perhaps you can relate.

Psychologists suggest that procrastination at key moments stems from a fear of success. Because we fear the tremendous change that often comes with success, we do just enough to earn the respect of the people around us without fully committing ourselves to the effort.

·      Do you struggle with the fear of success?

·      Do you set limits on yourself beyond what God has set for you?

·      Are you afraid of the power God has given you?

Success is your destiny. It’s mine, too.

God has given each of us unique strengths, passions, resources, and abilities to fulfill our purposes on earth. We are here to contribute and thrive.

Recognizing the root of my issue started me on the path to freedom. Though I still struggle, sometimes daily, with the fear of success, I see it for what it is now.

I have found strategies for remembering who I am and reminding myself to trust in God. As a result, I’ve been freed up to move forward with the things He has put in my heart with passion and momentum.

The men of Junto Tribe recognize that fear is the weapon of the enemy. The enemy wants to keep you back in the corner and out of the game. He knows there is power in you, and he will work with great endurance to keep you from believing in your God-given strength.

We recognize that we are servants of the Most High God, and that means that we are called to represent Him to the world. We do that by letting our light shine brightly for all to see.

Join us on our journey. Let’s stop listening to the intimidating voice of the one who fears our power and listen to the powerful voice of the One who has called and equipped us to succeed in life beyond our dreams—for our good and His glory.

Fear, Truth, & the Voice of the Father

I have two daughters, and both have a bit of daredevil in them. (I’m not sure where they got that from). 

A couple of years ago, their grandpa built a ramp for them to practice “jumping” their bikes. One day, after watching her older sister and a bunch of neighbor kids use the ramp, my youngest daughter decided it was time to try a bike jump.

I stood beside the ramp, encouraging her and silently praying that she would be brave enough to make the run and come out in one piece. 

“You can do this, little buddy!” I told her. “Get your speed up and hit the ramp. You’re going to be fine. If you lose control, I’ll catch you.”

Even with my encouragement and coaching, it took her a while to muster the courage. Over and over, she pedaled hard toward the ramp, only to turn her handle bars at the last minute to stay on safer ground. 

When her courage finally pushed her through, she made the jump, and we didn’t have to make any trips to the emergency room.

There was no doubt in my mind about my daughter’s potential to make that jump. But she achieved that potential only when she chose to stop listening to the voice of her fear and to listen to my voice telling her she could do it. In the same way, we will only achieve our potential by listening to the voice of our Father.

The choice to listen and trust in His voice is not easy or automatic. In fact, just as it was for my daughter, it is a battle. And this is where the true battle over our potential is fought.

Which Voice Will You Listen To? 

We are here to bring heaven to earth and light to darkness. We are part of a great movement of restoration in which all that was lost to sin and death through the fall is brought back to life and flourishing in the kingdom of God. 

Through His death and resurrection, Jesus defeated the devil and stripped him of his stolen authority. 

But though the enemy is already defeated, he has one last weapon to wield against us—his voice. Through false accusations, intimidation, and lies, he tries to get us to question our identity, authority, and relationship with the Father—just as he did from the beginning with Adam and Eve.

We win this battle the same way Jesus did. He merely quoted the words of His Father, as if to say, “This is the voice I listen to, not yours.”

Let His Words Be True 

In order to stand on the truth of our Father’s voice like Jesus did, we need to let Him bring correction to the doubts, fears, and wrong beliefs that we’ve held for so long.

Take a look at the story of Moses. In Exodus 3, God calls Moses to join Him in a rescue mission: “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt . . . I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:7-10 NIV). 

Moses reacts, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (vs. 11). God is calling him into an amazing adventure and mission, but he hesitates because of his self-doubt. “Are you sure you have the right guy, God?” He seems oblivious to the fact that he is suggesting that what he believes about himself is truer than what God says.

But look how God respond to Moses’ doubts. He doesn’t reprimand him. He simply promises, “I will be with you” (Exodus 3:12). In other words, God says, “I won’t just tell you what is true; I will show you truth. I will make it real to you.”

Jesus gives the same promise to us: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5). Just as I stood beside that ramp cheering my daughter on, He is with us, empowering us to speak His words, bring His power, and show His love to the world.

We’ve each got a bike ramp of our own, and Jesus is standing beside it reminding us that we’re capable of succeeding.

We often turn our handlebars in search of safer ground, because the voice of fear looms large. 

The men of Junto Tribe are working to live life differently. We’re passionate about reaching our God-given potential and we’re leaning into the voice of our Father for the truth about ourselves. 

We’re learning that our past, our circumstances, and our feelings aren’t reliable. We’re learning to look to Him instead.

Whose voice are you listening to?

Photo by Katherine Chase on Unsplash

Seeking Quiet in the Midst of a Noisy World

Where will you find quiet?

It isn’t readily available to any of us. The world constantly assaults us with noise and disturbance and chaos.

We have around-the-clock access to televisions, computers, and video games. Our cell phones invade every moment of our lives and they insulate us from the opportunity to be still and quiet.

Many of us struggle to quiet our minds even when the environment around us is quiet. When the house is dark, and the world is sleeping, our minds refuse to slow down. Because we don’t intentionally pursue rest, we never find it.

As a result, we’re losing our ability to think. We spend much of our days mindlessly engaging with cell phones and electronic devices that isolate us from wonder and thought.

We stay on autopilot because it’s easier that way.

But Jesus set a different example for us. He took time away from the busyness of His ministry to seek quiet.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”

Mark 1:35

Jesus knew that it was easier to hear from the Father when He was alone in the Father’s presence. From the time He was a young boy, Jesus understood that God was the source of wisdom.

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

Proverbs 2:6

We are called to be true scholars, grounded in God’s truths. We are called to grow in wisdom and stature, just as Jesus did.

The world needs our knowledge and our wisdom to solve problems and serve people. We must experiment and learn and engage with the world around us. To do less would be to squander the incredible abilities God has given each of us.

The men of Junto Tribe recognize that the world becomes more complicated each day, and our hands-off approach isn’t working. God has uniquely equipped men to impact the world and engage with its people, and we have a responsibility to that calling.

What does that look like practically?

·      Read. All the great lessons of humanity are captured in books: the triumphs, the challenges, and the failures.

·      Journal. Write down the thoughts and ideas you have and track the discoveries you make along the way.

·      Experiment. Try new things. Seek solutions to problems that exist in the world around you.

·      Think. Turn off the electronic devices and embrace the quiet. Ponder ideas. Consider options.

 When God’s men pursue knowledge together with His truth, He will open doors to us.

 How will you start?

 

Photo by Damian McCoig on Unsplash

 

Wisdom, Truth, & Man's Responsibility to the World

History demonstrates a pattern among God’s men: when they pursue His truth and recognize wisdom as a God-given gift, they thrive.

It was true of David. And Saul. And Solomon.

In fact, Solomon’s reputation for wisdom was so great that it extended well beyond his immediate territory.

The Queen of Sheba heard reports of his wisdom and came to him with questions, and “nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her.” She marveled that his wisdom exceeded even the reports she had heard.

She also understood that Solomon’s success originated with God.

“Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.”

1 Kings 10:9

Solomon prospered when he sought God’s wisdom. When he turned away from God and lost sight of His truth, Solomon suffered the consequences.

David and Saul shared the same story, and most of us do, too.

We forget that our wisdom is a gift from God. Though Solomon was among the wisest men who ever lived, without God’s truth, his knowledge was meaningless.

We also forget that we have an enemy who seeks to turn us from God. He did it to Adam and he did it to Solomon. He even tried to do the same to Jesus. 

“I will give you all this earthly authority if you would just worship me.”

Luke 4:6-7

Jesus understood the enemy’s intent and recognized the attempt to turn Him from the will of the Father. Unlike the others before him, He understood Satan’s intentions and responded with God’s word.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

Matthew 28:18

Jesus knew that all authority had been given to Him by the Father, and he reclaimed it for man when He came to earth.

Now, that authority has been given to those of us who belong to Him. With that authority comes a great responsibility to and over the world.

We must, however, constantly seek His authority and power, and we must never forget that we are still accountable for the ways we use our knowledge.

The men of Junto Tribe strive to seek God’s authority daily. We’re working in community to use our knowledge for His good and to hold each other accountable to the same.

If each of us fully understood our authority and used it to impact our corner of the world, the world would be a different place.

How will you start?