Indeed you are powerful

I am thrilled to have found a wonderful Friday morning men’s fellowship group at our new church here in Edmond, Oklahoma, very similar to a Friday morning men’s group I participated in back in Lubbock for the past few years. Ever since I went to my first Promisekeepers event, which was probably back in 1998 or so, seeking the fellowship, accountability, laughter and levity of another group of Christian guys has become a very important part of my life.

Our Edmond men’s group is about 50 or 60 men strong each week, and one of the best things about it is that we have men who are all different ages. There are probably more retired guys than younger ones, but I think the age range is very good– it runs from 30s (I don’t think we have any in their 20s in there currently) up to 70s and maybe even 80s. Older guys have so much more “lived experiences” and wisdom than us young whippersnappers, that it is a great opportunity usually to just hang out and listen. I want to have the “margin” and perspective on life that these older guys do NOW, and not wait another forty years to get it. That is a real struggle, but hanging out with these fellows, listening to them and learning from them seems like a good recipie for learning their secrets. Maybe some of that patient, gentle spirit will rub off on me! I am not sure if it is working, but I think there’s a good chance it might be doing some good.

We have started a new book study on John Eldredge’s book, “Wild At Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul.” I read this book at least three years ago, it was published in in 2001– and I am so glad to have this encouragement to read the book again, reflect on it, and share about it with other guys. I am also very glad to have this blog as a place to record my thoughts and offer them up for feedback and response. I will try and “chunk” my ideas a bit better for this blog than I sometimes do for my primary blog– because I think people are more likely to read shorter posts and part of my purpose is to encourage dialog and responses.

The first excerpt I want to respond to from the book comes from page 10, in chapter 1. Eldredge writes:

Capes and swords, camouflage, bandannas and six-shooters– these are the uniforms of boyhood. Little boys yearn to know they are powerful, they are dangerous, they are someone to be reckoned with.

This reminds me of one of my favorite lines from the movie series “Star Wars.” This is from Episode VI, “Return of the Jedi,” and Darth Vader is speaking to Luke on the planet Endor before he takes him up to his star ship to meet the Emperor. Vader says:

Indeed you are powerful, as the Emperor has foreseen.

I love that statement and observation. Yes, Luke has grown powerful in his own right under the guidance of his mentors, Obi-Wan and Yoda. And now, his own father is recognizing him. All children yearn to be acknowledged and recognized by their parents, I think, for the men and women they have and are continuing to grow up to be.

I got in the habit many years ago of having my own children repeat certain phrases that I would tell them. I know that “self-talk” is very important in terms of shaping identity, and there are so many terrible messages in our popular culture today that reinforce the WRONG messages to both young people and adults alike. For my daughters, I often have them repeat the following after me:

I AM powerful.
I AM strong.
I AM beautiful.
I AM smart.
I AM a good thinker.
I AM good.
I AM nice.
I AM sweet.

I want my own children to speak this reality into their own lives: They ARE powerful because God has created them in his own image to be his children, and to do his work. He has equipped them each with talents and gifts that they are called to discover and to use, and part of my role as their father is to help them discover their identity and learn at the end of the day– or rather on the path of their own journey of faith, that they each ARE powerful…. Powerful beyond words, or as Miguel has written before, “powerful beyond measure.”

I think it is very important as parents, teachers and just adults in our society that we help empower young people to believe in themselves and in the calling which they each have in this world to do important work. I have no idea what my children will do in the future, but I do know that I want them to move forward into that future with confidence and sureity about WHOSE they are, and how wonderfully he has crafted them to be his agents on this often dark planet.

Fixing my eyes on Jesus

Hebrews 12:2 to me is a reminder that I should fix my eyes on Jesus every day. Our world is filled with distractions and its media-centric nature makes it (perhaps) more difficult than ever to concentrate on anything for a sustained period of time. Even when I am listening to a sermon at church, my mind often wanders to think about other things. It is a real struggle to keep focused on a Biblical message even when I am in a church on a Sunday morning! How much more difficult it is to stay focused on Christ and his calling for my life out in “the real world?!”

I am working on making time each day to study God’s Word and spend time in prayer with Him. This is a huge challenge for me. I know I need to spend time not only talking to God, but also being quiet so I can listen to Him! God speaks to us, and he speaks to me, but I find myself often in such motion and a buzz of activity that I think I find it hard to listen to him. Being still and listening is a counter-cultural act today, I think. I am reminded of the Biblical exhortation, which was a song our high school choir sang incidentally many years ago: “Be still, and know that I am God.”

God is the creator of the universe, and he is the Father of us all. I think having an opportunity to write about my own journey of faith in this blogspace is going to be a good process for me personally, and hopefully an encouragement to others who are also on a personal journey of faith. I have previously blogged about my Christian faith on my main blog, “Moving at the Speed of Creativity,” but am now going to post those sorts of thoughts here. By doing this, I in no way want to hide or conceal my faith and my beliefs. To the contrary, I want to have access to a specific forum that is oriented towards topics relating to faith, Christianity, God and Jesus. Because my primary blog focuses mainly on issues relating to educational technology, I have (at times) been a bit reluctant to post ideas, reflections and resources which specifically related to Christianity there. Now that I have access to this dedicated Christian webspace, I do not anticipate having such reservations again!

I do not have all the answers, and I probably don’t have many answers, but I am on a journey of faith that I know in my heart of hearts is the right pathway. God has the answers, and in his time I know he will reveal more to me. He does each day. One of the best things about blogs is the potential they give for authentic sharing and communication. Hopefully the opportunity to share and reflect about our faith will be a blessing to all who visit here. 🙂

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