Pay Attention To The Ripple Effect

ripple effectThe decisions you make and the actions you take affect those around you.

Rehoboam learned that lesson the hard way. Rehoboam followed his father Solomon to the throne of Israel. Solomon had exacted harsh labor on the people. A delegation, led by Jeroboam, went to the new king and asked him to take away the harshness.

In private, Rehoboam asked his elder council what he should do. They advised that he become a servant to the people, lighten their load, and the people would always be faithful servants to the king.

His circle of younger friends gave him just the opposite advice. They told him to work the people harder. He liked that idea, told the delegation his plans, and wound up with a divided kingdom.

At one time or another all of us are impacted by someone else’s decisions or actions. When we suffer the negative consequences of another’s wrongheaded decision, God can redeem the situation. Although Rehoboam wound up ruling only two tribes—Judah and Benjamin (as opposed to Jeroboam’s rule over ten tribes)—it was through Judah that Jesus came to us. God can work, and often does what seems to us as his best work, in situations that seem the most difficult.

We should always consider how our decisions and actions affect those around us. In “systems thinking” it is said that “you are the highest leverage point in any system you are in.” More simply stated, you can make a difference. You are more “powerful” than you think you are––no matter your station in life.

Clint Eastwood’s film Invictus tells the story of Nelson Mandela’s use of the South African rugby team to help heal a nation divided by apartheid. In one scene of theripple effect 3 movie he explains to a team member, “Reconciliation starts here. Forgiveness starts here.” He knew his actions would have a ripple effect on those around him. Eventually the blessing of that “ripple” washed across the nation.

Rehoboam made a bad decision, but it was really his father Solomon’s actions that divided the kingdom. He forsook the one true God and chased after other “gods,” he neglected to serve the people and instead forced them to work harder, and he was focused on himself, as reflected in his accumulation of wives, gold, and horses in direct disobedience to God’s counsel. His son Rehoboam was merely living out consequence of those decisions and actions.

Learn from Solomon’s mistake. Love God first. Love others second. And serve those that do not yet know God. You will be surprised to see how far your ripple will travel

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Where are the real men?

real men 4We live in a culture and in a society where real men are difficult to find. Where are the men who believe in truth? Where are the men who lead their families? Where are the men who have convictions and principles and stand upon them no matter what? Where are the men who love their woman with all their being and will defend her against any opposition? Where are the men who model for their children what it means to love and to serve and to be courageous? Where are men of common sense, understanding and wisdom? Where are the men who are spiritual leaders of their home? Where are the real men?

Rather than spending our time pointing fingers or attempting to find reasons for the condition of men in our culture, let’s rather talk about some solutions and new direction. Let’s talk about what a real man looks like. And then, let’s just spend a moment talking about some key pursuits that will develop real man in today’s culture.

First of all real men lead their families. They are out in front. They know what is right and what is true and what is good and they pursue it with all of their hearts. They have convictions and principles and stand upon those convictions and principles even when others in their neighborhood or workplace refused to do so. It is still true that children will not do what you say; they will do what you are. In other words, instead of following your words they will follow your model. And that is not true just of children; it is true of the entire family. We need families that are led by man who are models. They are models of values and principles and spiritual convictions and purpose that others are proud to follow.

This is not an easy task in our culture. Men have been assaulted from endless sources. Some of the assault is nothing more than an attempt to reduce and diminish the value and place of man in our culture. Other attacks are justified. Men have just failed to step up to the plate, to be what they are called to be, and to lead as they are called to lead. As a result, men face a huge challenge today. But it is a challenge that men must meet and men must conquer and men must overcome. Men must become leaders in their families.

The second thing real man are is healthy, strong, and mission driven. They know that being a real leader requires health, physical health and spiritual health. They are not content to exist or to take up space in the family. They want to be healthy leaders that are giving attention to their physical, spiritual as well as emotional well-being.

This takes time. This takes desire. This takes determination. But a real man is so committed to being healthy and strong and mission focused that they are, and this is the third identifying characteristic of a real man, they are willing to pay the price, whatever that price might be. They will sacrifice, extend, serve, exercise self control or whatever it takes to become the healthy, strong, mission driven leader that the family needs and the family is longing for.

So my question to you is this, do you want to be a real man? Do you want to be a man who leads his family, leading out of health, strength and purpose because you’re willing to pay the price whatever it is? If this is the kind of man you want to be I have a few suggestions.

I would first of all say, make the time to get alone with God regularly. The challenge is too big, the call is too high, the task is to demanding for you to do it alone. You cannot be the man that God wants you to be and calls you to be in your own strength and in your own power. There is a short verse in the Bible that says, in the book of Philippians chapter 4 verse 13, “I can do everything,” that means you can do everything you need to do to be the leader in your home that you need to be. It is within the power and realm of possibility, but it continues, “through HIM who gives me strength.” Who is the him? Who is the one who gives me strength? Who is the one who provides the power? It is Jesus. We are talking about the super natural strength that Jesus gives to those who seek, depend on, and cry out to him for such strength.

So I would say to you, if you want to be the leader in your home that you know you need to be and God wants you to be, you need to spend regular time with the one who real men 3gives you the power, strength, wisdom, and anything else it takes to be the leader that you need to be.

The second thing I would encourage you to do is to get connected with a group of men, or a men’s ministry through which you can pursue the same goals and direction together. Connect up with other men who also want to be real man. Spend time regularly with men who want to be leaders in their family. Learn from men and learn together with man who want to get healthy and strong as they pursue God’s mission and purpose for their families. You cannot do it alone. Not only do you need the power of God you also need the presence of other men who are pursuing this purpose together.

So let me wrap it all up by first of all repeating something I have already said. This is not going to be easy. The tide of culture is against you. The forces of the evil one stand in opposition. He does not want you to win this battle. The evil one does not want you to be the leader in your home that God want you to be. Therefore, he will do everything he can to dissuade you and defeat you. Be aware of that.

To that I would say, do not let him win. Look to God, depend on his strength, pursue his purpose, and you will become the leader he wants you to be in your family. It will not be instantaneous. It will take time upon time upon time. But with each step of progress and each mark of victory you will become more and more the real man God has called you to be. I believe that is exactly want you want.