5 aspects

Brilliant Men, Beautiful Women and GOD - Part 5 of a 5-part series of the Five Aspects of Manhood

Have you ever been grabbed by a thought that takes hold of your mental steering wheel and crashes your initial, superficial understanding of an idea?

Caution! 

Please read the next line sitting down and buckled into a safe chair, while you brace for impact.

·         A man is the image and glory of God (1 Corinthians 11:7).

Did an airbag go off when you crashed into the concept of glory?

“Uh….nope.” you probably answered.

Maybe the concept of glory doesn’t buzz and zing because you’ve never considered glory as deep beauty.

Thomas Aquinas, the brilliant 13th century theologian said that something is beautiful if it consists of three things:  Wholeness, harmony and radiance.

Before we crack open these three concepts, we have to ask, “What does this have to do with Biblical manhood?”

Everything. 

I just finished meeting with a bunch of dads and their sons where we discussed five Scriptural aspects of manhood. 

We travelled through the first four (see the last four blog posts for specifics) and got fired-up about men being

·         Lords:  Initiators and rulers of a specific slice of creation, under the ultimate Lordship of Jesus.

·         Husbandmen:  Not just starters, but caretakers and cultivators of the things we initiate.

·         Saviors:  Guys who take sacrificial responsibility, where we are willing to bleed for those whom we love.

·         Sages:  Guys who aim for the best goal with the best method at the best time, depending on God’s best wisdom.

Glory is the final and crowning aspect of manhood because God clearly reveals that “a man is the glory of God” (1 Cor 11:7).

The Hebrews used the word glory when they saw something deeply beautiful.

As we have seen, beauty involves wholeness, harmony and radiance.

·         Let’s consider what each of these mean and how they relate to manhood.

First, something is beautiful when it is whole.

Whole means nothing is missing.

·         A new truck is not missing a tailgate or an engine.

Wholeness also means nothing is added that does not need to be there.

·         No one looks at the Mona Lisa and says “that lady needs a mustache.”  The picture is complete.

A man is to image or reflect the deep beauty of God by his wholeness.

What might that look like?

When a man does a job, does he cut corners and leave important things out?

When a man speaks to a friend or a woman does he add things that really don’t need to be added?

I speak a lot, to a lot of people, and fail to say things I should of said (I leave things out) while usually saying more than should have been said. 

This is not a good reflection of the glory of God.

But I am in Christ. 

He is the very glory of God.  2 Corinthians 4:6 expresses, “God.. has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Second, something is beautiful when it expresses harmony.

Harmony is all about all of the parts relating to each other in the right way.

Think of a rock band playing a song.  If three singers decide to sing their parts in a way that don’t complement each other, you would have unpleasant noise.

When three singers decide to submit to each other, as they focus on the beauty of the song by singing in harmony, we experience a sense of joy and internal pleasure.

Men, we reflect the glorious harmony of God when we remember that God is a Trinity or a harmonious community.

A key reason I joined the Presbyterian expression of the family of God is because men lead side by side in submissive harmony rather than hierarchically. 

Real manhood submits and brings out the best in the other guys to the glory of God.

Third, deep beauty consists of radiance. 

Just think of God showing up as a radiant cloud, a burning bush, or a transfigured Jesus.

Beautiful things glow and sparkle and dazzle.

·         This is why the word beauty is derived from the Greek word kalen (to call).

When we see a beautiful woman or hear a beautiful song or see a beautiful Jesus, we feel like the beauty is calling out to us.

Beauty radiates towards our senses and then magnetically pulls us toward its source.

And a man is the deep beauty or glory of God.

When people look at you as a man, do they see radiance and luminous energy in your work, words and ways?

God gifted me with the glory of three sons. 

Even though I am dull and sunless in many ways, I am now in the brilliance of Christ. 

He gave up his glory so that I could enter into his glory. 

His willingness to embrace anti-glory expresses the fullness of his glory.

My hope is that my sons, along with all men, will embrace our roles as lords, husbandmen, saviors, sages and glory-reflectors of Jesus.

And ladies, thanks for patiently allowing me the time to address the glory of men over these last five posts. 

Want to hear something glorious?  A woman is called the glory of man (1 Corinthians 11:7)…and Jesus is the glory of God.

And that is why a woman is truly the quintessence of beauty.

For the beauty of Christ,
Pastor Howard
Senior Pastor
Metro North Church

Four Ways to be a Sage in a Stupid Age - Part 4 of the Five Aspects of Manhood

I’m a fairly stupid guy sometimes.

I didn’t say totally stupid-I said fairly stupid.

Some people suffer from temporary insanity.

I’m different.  I suffer from temporary stupidity.

Let me prove it.

Just the other day my wife asked me to remove all of the wasp nests from our front porch.

I spotted an angry looking yellow jacket perched upon his nest.

Rather than grab a fly swatter (the intelligent thought never crossed my raison-sized brain)
I grabbed a broom stick.  

I aimed the end of the stick (the end that you normally hold) at the buzzing bee and began jousting.

I missed the bee over and over and over.

The bee realized its advantage, (he was jousting with a stupid guy) hovered up and over my head, and then flew away, free as a bird.

Let me define stupid.

A good definition acts like a fence.  Some concepts are kept in while others are left out.

Stupidity is a lack of smarts.  

Smart people know things, exercise good judgment and live intelligently with wisdom.

Stupid people know little, fail to exercise good judgment and choose unwise methods to kill bees.

And yet, maybe my admission of stupidity is my first step towards becoming a sage.

When a person exercises wisdom that comes from age, failure and experience he is called a sage.

What are four things a man can do to become a sage in a stupid age?

First he can appreciate that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).

Wisdom has always been about not only choosing the right goals in life, but also the right methods to reach those goals at the right time.

Men, we are to fear God first if wisdom is to ignite.

But what is fear?  

Fear is the explosive intermixture of intense desire to get closer to beauty, while at the same time wanting to sprint as far away from beauty so as not to get sizzled by its supremacy.

Need an example?

When a guy sees a new truck or a lovely lady or a breathtaking mountain, he simultaneously wants to get closer and farther away.

He wants to get closer, cause he really wants that truck or girl or challenging climb up the mountain.

He wants to get farther away cause he knows he does not have what it takes to get any of these (I’m too poor, not in her class, unable to climb to the top).

What’s this got to do with being a sage instead of a stupid guy?

Everything.

When we start with God (he is more valuable than a truck or a lady or a mountain) and get close enough to him to submit to his wisdom, while staying far enough away to admit our dependence on him, we actually begin to become wise.

God always has the right goals, the best methods and perfect sovereign timing.  Fear him and you will take the first step towards being a sage.

Second, spend tons of time mastering skills that fire you up.

Men have different likes and dislikes.  Pursue your likes and get some know-how.

Do you like to tinker with engines?  Get your hands greasy, make mistakes, and grow in wisdom.

Do you like to read?  Read good books, think, make some mental mistakes, and grow in wisdom.

After years of tinkering away at a skill, you’ll be sought out to serve others with your sage advice.

Third, beware of abusing your growth as a sage.

Remember Solomon? He is considered the wisest man that ever lived.

God clearly commanded Solomon to fear him by refusing to stockpile gold and wives (Deuteronomy 17:17).  God wanted Solomon to trust and depend on him alone instead of money and ladies.

Solomon acted the fool and his kingdom fractured.

As we acquire and then master skills and know-how, we need to trust God’s goals, methods and timing, so that we do not abuse everyone around us.

Fourth, beware of abandoning your call to be a sage.

Do you habitually read God’s word which reveals God’s goals and methods for living a life of high adventure?

How do you spend your idle time?  Do you fritter it away with the escape of entertainment?  

Look.  I know life is hard for us guys.  

The stresses and strains are knee-buckling.

Life regularly punches us in the face.

But you are a Jesus-man.  

Jesus is called “the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24).

As we live united to him, following and fearing his goals and methods, we will become truly wise.

Life is a 15 round fight and you are not in the ring alone.

Don’t escape from the ring of life and hide in the playground of pornography.

Have you heard all of the stupid exuses?

I’ve heard them all:    

It releases my sexual tension

Everyone involved is enjoying themselves

It will make me a better lover

My wife is tired

I'm single

Guys, these excuses are beef-brained and we know it.

Instead, let’s get back in the ring of life with Jesus and other guys by our side, and become sages who fear God.

Get trained by wiser men than you.  Laugh at your stupidity as you resolve to rely on the grace of God alone for your salvation.  Pray for wisdom to be a sage in a stupid age.

Howard Cole
Senior Pastor
Metro North Church

The Secret is Revealed: How a Boy Becomes a Man. Part 2 of The Five Aspects of Manhood

I love to wrestle with my three sons.

I unexpectedly surprise them by putting them in a headlock, just to see how they will fight their way free. 

Maybe it’s playful combat, or maybe it’s my way to prepare them for the push and pull of life in a wild, jungle-of-a-world.

·         But a dad should be careful about how he trains his boys, because boys become men.

Now that my sons are bigger and stronger, they have turned the tables on their aging father.

When I least expect it, one of my boys will give me a surprise attack, just to see how I’ll wrestle my way out of things. 

Sometimes all three will band together to see if they can overpower their papa.

What exactly is a telltale sign that a boy is becoming a man? 

While any boy can begin something, a man finishes things. 

A man who finishes things has traditionally been called a husband.

A husband cares for what he creates.

A husband cultivates and tends the persons and things within his realm in order to make them fully fruitful and powerfully productive.

We often equate the word husband with marriage but “husbandry” has also been associated with farming or gardening.

A boy can throw a handful of seeds into the dirt, but a man will faithfully water, fertilize, prune and pray for abundant growth and development.

Here are three things a boy can do this week to become a man that husbands well.

·         First, stop living as a consumer. 

A consumer depends on mom, dad and others without taking responsibility.

Authority flows from taking responsibility.

Contribution creates deeper joy than consumption.

Watch a coach, a mechanic, a webmaster, a pit crew chief, an engineer and a pastor. 

They have an appetite for multiplying abundance.

It’s time to be productive for the sake of loving and serving others.

Things become wild when a man refuses to tend and care for that which is under his responsibility.

What is the condition of your room, body, clothes, computer, animals, and relationships?

What is the condition of your relationship with the living God?

·         Second, don’t abuse your husbanding by overwork. 

When we roll up our sleeves and overexert our energy in inefficient ways we sweat.

Cursed with sweat, we often curse when we give our life to our work.

The gospel is all about Christ working for you as He died to absorb your penalty for sin and lives to carry you with his righteousness. 

He said the final “It is Finished” at the end of his cross-work to save fallen humanity.

All work and no play makes men into exhausted, arrogant jerks. 

I know this because I struggle with overwork and the pride and exhaustion it creates every day.

Make sure you build margin into your calendar to wrestle with your boys, date your wife and play at a hobby.

·         Third, don’t slack up or slack off.  Our culture tempts boys to abandon their role as emerging husbands.

Coasting, convenience and comfort tempt boys to stay boys.

Spend more time cultivating the character of Christ rather than competence at trivial games or useless skills.

Men have a fire in their belly to husband productive things.

Slackness creates mediocre and careless productivity.

Christ played hard but never abandoned his role as the husband of his bride, the church by slacking off.

Paul said it best when he addressed his “brothers” with these words:  ESV 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

·         And young men here is the secret of all secrets--

Girls becoming women look for boys becoming men…..men who relish husbanding for the glory of God.

Well guys, what do you think? 

Do you agree that the secret to a boy becoming a man is husbanding things well? 

I’d love to hear from you.

Pastor Howard
Senior Pastor
Metro North Church