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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Staying Power

This post is about Chapter 4 "Staying Power" from "Tender Warrior" by Stu Weber.

In this chapter Stu introduces us to a man who’s life illustrated intense “Staying Power.” This man’s name was “Job” and his story is told in the Old Testament’s “Book of Job.”

Stu provides a summary of Job and his life:
“Job’s presence filled a room, he was confident, but humble. Authoritative but gracious. Exuding strength but inviting companionship. His character calls you to follow him. His success speaks well of him. His family reflects the quality of his leadership. A guy you would want to get to know, learn from, emulate. Despite enormous demands in his life there was always time for the kids. He seemed to have a vision much larger than himself.”
As the story progresses, he loses it all and the question becomes will Job remain a man or cash in his character. Will his character survive? People, events, evil schemes, disasters, catastrophes can take things away from you - things on the outside, but no one can take away what’s on the inside - heart, soul and character. A man can throw it away, but no one can ever take it away.

The patience of Job is his staying power. James talks of this in the “book of James”, its the endurance, staying under, persevering, holding fast, and stay firm.

Job's masculinity rested not in:

* What he owned
* The size of his house
* The amount of his investments
* What he could perform
* What he could achieve
* The people he knew
* What model of donkey he rode
* His status in the community

Job sources his masculinity and person-hood in who he was, alone and naked before God. That’s what makes a man out of you. There was a sense of permanence; strong, stable, secure and consistent throughout. A man’s greatest strength is hi capacity to make and keep his commitments. A man’s word connects. A man’s word stays. But unfortunately in today’s society, men are not staying.

The ability to make/keep promises is central to manhood. The calling of every man is to offer stability to a world full of chaos. A real man brings certainty to his world by the power of a promise. It is good for a man to spend less time climbing and moving and more time to staying put. Invest in the two institutions God gave his primary attention to: Family and the local church.

The kind of man who pleased God is a man of his word. One who makes and keeps promises. One who stays. That kind of man creates an atmosphere of stability in an ocean of insecurity.

You have to stay, have to serve, remain under - so that endurance can have it’s good work in you. The only reason Jesus became a man was to be “man handled”. Job’s enormous staying power was rooted in his walk with God. “Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen to me today, that You and I can’t handle together.

Bottom line:
Stay with it, stick with your commitments, stand by your promises. The heart of staying power is sacrifice - giving ones self up for the good of another. Real men don’t run, they stay and stay, like Job, Like Jesus.

Based on this, here’s some questions to leave you with:

Stu makes reference to the passage from James about the quality of endurance (staying under, remaining, persevering, holding fast, and standing firm.) Why do you think this notion of “staying power” is so little evidenced in our contemporary culture?

If the disasters that hit Job were to happen to you, how do you think you’d respond?

Feel free to post comments or email with questions and your thoughts.

The Four Pillars (A Man and His Roots)

This post is about Chapter 3 "The Four Pillars (A Man and His Roots)." from "Tender Warrior" by Stu Weber.

Stu starts this chapter with the statement that the Bible is the owners manual for your masculinity.  This is what the Creator had in mind.  Stu then introduces the concept of the four pillars. 

Four Pillars:
KingVisionary and care taker, he provides order, mercy and justice
WarriorEquipped to battle and be a protector / defender.  He provides a protective shield, he defends, stands between and guards
MentorA teaching heart.  He models, explains and wants to train others
FriendA loving care giving, compassionate heart.  A commitment maker and promise keeper.

A good warrior is also a sensitive lover, a “Tender Warrior.”   This "Tender Warrior" is in essence “every man’s purpose, every women’s dream, and every child's hope.”

Stu then switches gears a bit and introduces the concept that “Masculinity means Initiation.” At his core a man is an initiator - a “piercer”, one who penetrates, moves forward, advances toward the horizon, one who leads.  At the core of masculinity is initiation, the “pro-vision” of direction, security, stability and connection.  Stu adds a quote, “a compass without a needle is not a compass, a man without initiative is not a man.”

To be masculine is to take initiative; to provide direction, security, stability and order. To lead, to head, to husband.  A man's role is to take the lead in providing, protecting, mentoring and befriending.  This comes down to the caring for and development of our; mates, our children and ourselves.

Stu then takes us back in the Bible, into Genesis and shows us how God had set things up initially.   In the garden of Eden, Adam was to have dominion, to provide order and supervision, to look out for it. He was to provide for his helpmate, to stand before her and the evil that was there.  Adam was to teach his wife what God had taught him.  Adam was to cleave to his wife in the most intimate of friendships.

Based on this, here’s some questions to leave you with:

In speaking about Man and His Roots, Stu introduced the concepts of four pillars (King, Warrior, Mentor and Friend) and how they are essential to the way God designed man. Which is easiest and which is hardest to live out (King, Warrior, Mentor and Friend)?

In speaking about Man and His Roots, Stu also made the statement that “Masculinity Means Initiation.” He then makes the statement “A compass without a needle is not a compass, a man without initiative is not a man.” In general, what do you think culture or the world would think about this statement?    What you do think about this?

Feel free to post comments or email with questions and your thoughts.

A Man and His Pro-vision, the Role of a Scout

This post is about Chapter 2 "A Man and his Pro-vision, the role of a scout." from "Tender Warrior" by Stu Weber.

Stu provides us with an example of Flint McCullough from the old TV series “Wagon Train.” In this show, Ward Bond lead the journey of the wagon train, while Flint filled the role of a scout. As a scout Flint’s job was to probe out ahead of the rest, check on the coming trail, scout for the necessities (water, food) keep a discerning eye out of for dangers, and to see ahead whether it was the weather, enemies, as well as pick-out the best and safest routes for the wagon train to follow.

The whole wagon train community relied on the scout’s experience, judgement and sense of direction. Stu points out that this is similar to the role of a man as provider for his family. Stu introduces the concept of “Pro-vision” for this type of role.

“Pro” = before or ahead of time
“Vision” = sight or seeing

The idea is that “Pro-vision” is the act of looking ahead, providing direction, anticipating needs and defining of the ultimate destination.  Stu states, that "what makes a Man is a vision, and in particular a vision for something larger than himself  Its a vision of something out there ahead, a place to go (to chart the course ahead, picture the future.)

A man must visualize ahead of time / think forward. A “Pro-visionary” is one who lives at and beyond the horizons. This, Stu comments, is the very essence of leadership, the "king" in every man, one who is always looking ahead, watching for for his people, and providing direction and order.  To me, this is key perspective to understand in leadership.

Stu goes on to caution that we can often misplace our vision; i.e. focus on things - house, car, boat, stocks, money, generally piling things up. We imagine that we find security in these things. 

Stu further points out that “there is no status or security if you don’t have relationships.  Reverting to things we can see, when in fact it’s the unseen (world of spiritual / relationships) that we ought to be majoring in “Pro-vision.”  These are matters of; character, heart, spirit, integrity, justice and humility - the kinds of things that will last.  They are character traits that outlive a man and leave not a monument, but a legacy.  One can imaging what confidence that would bring to a family, organization or a church.

At the heart of a real man’s vision is the health of the family.  But what is that destination and how will you get your family there?  Your family (or the group you are leading) is depending on you to set the course, determine the direction, set the pace. They are looking to you for advance warning of storms. A man can get the perspective he needs to lead the family if he is willing to humble himself and see it from the Lord God.

Pro-visionaries need to use their God given capacity for distance vision to encourage and give hope and security to their families. A pro-visionary looks down the years and asks himself questions.  Based on the answers, he then looks to the future and provides what his group will need.)  Clarity of vision is critical to the accomplishment of goals.

Stu adds, “A man was made for vision - leading the way, for vision-casting.” And they asks if you have developed a five year plan for your family?  Are you able to dream it yourself, share it with your spouse, refine it together, communicate it to the kids, and are they catching it?

Stu end with this, “when you lose your vision, you find yourself powerless to take necessary action.” Does your family share a vision of mountain sized goals in the distance?

Here’s some questions I came up with for the group discussion:

Stu compared the concept of “Pro-vision” with that of a role of “The Scout.” Is the role of “The Scout” natural or unnatural to you? Explain?

In what specific ways do you find yourself “looking ahead” in leading (i.e. your life, your family, etc..)? How do you “give direction?”

Feel free to post comments or email with questions and your thoughts.

Wake-up Call (A Man Faces Himself), Definition of Manliness (Masculinity)

This post is about Chapter 1 "Wake-Up Call, A Man Faces Himself" from "Tender Warrior" by Stu Weber.

In this chapter Stu discusses, “how many times can you hear a wake-up call without really waking up?” Wake-up calls tend to come at the crossroads of life. Many times we are pushing the snooze button or living by, “I’ll always have a second-chance later” (there is always tomorrow, I’ll do better.) Stu challenges us to ask ourselves “what really matters?”

Often times we take relationships for granted and in particular, not treating our spouses correctly, not seeing them as a companion in life, and not fully sharing what's really inside us. Stu shares examples of his life where he took his relationship with his wife for granted and how it got this way. Stu points out that understanding how the living God put him (or us / me) together as a man helped he and his wife grow together as a couple.

Stu ends the chapter with discussing the definition of manliness. He states that real, God-made down-in-the-bedrock masculinity is something men in our culture are scrambling to understand. Being tough, tender, strong, sensitive, fierce, friendly? Which is it? He mentions that in the chapters that follow he will look at cultures confusion right in the eye. He will have us look at ourselves and face up to a few things. We will sort through what really matters in life and go the rounds with some tough issues.

Here’s some questions to leave you with:

Stu Weber uses the analogy of a “Wake-up” call to introduce the concept’s of “facing yourself/what’s important in life” and the “definition of masculinity.” In general, what does society / our culture say about what’s most important in life and what the definition of masculinity is?

What do you think?

Feel free to post comments or email with questions and your thoughts.

Becomming a Tender Warrior - Real Instruction for Being a Man

On February 15, through my Church (“Church In the Valley”) I launched a Men’s only Growth Group with a focused study to help guys grow in their relationships to God. The book I choose to use for the focused study was “Tender Warrior” by Stu Weber. The book is subtitled “Every Man’s Purpose, Every Women’s Dream, Every Child’s Hope.”

The book is an excellent guide for guys to get in touch with what God our creator has intended the role of man to be in this world. The book explores this along with current thinking within society.  It will likely challenge you and your values/perspective (I know it has challenged mine.)

Each week in our group we will be reading selected chapters in the book. As group facilitator I have agreed to provide a brief overview of what was discussed in the chapters and then come up with several perception/values related questions for the group to discuss.

The next several posts will include those brief overviews (some insights / summary) of the chapters of this wonderful book. It is my desire that these posts could be used as a possible means for other guys to review.  It is my hope that this material is useful to you in thinking through your role as a man, especially in context to what our creator (God) has intended it to be for us..

Feel free to post comments or email with questions and your thoughts.