This weekend I am preaching at a Men's Retreat. Not too long ago they called it a Men's Advance, because guys hate to retreat! I guess that's the reason why I have had trouble preparing for this event, I've never been much of a man's man (not that there's anything wrong with that!), mostly because I don't like sleeping on the ground, getting up early and shooting things, and while I enjoy spitting and scratching - my mom convinced me not to do it in public long ago.
So, with all these non-manly strikes against me, I set out to prepare something that could be of value to guys who willing gave up a weekend to spend time with other guys following Jesus. Here's what I came up with . . . And perhaps this will not surprise anyone to know that the premise for my talk is based on plowing over another one of those guy things - never asking for directions.
My talks are based on an Andy Stanley book called The Principle of the Path. Those of you who attend The Word at Shaw regularly know that I am a huge Andy Stanley fan . . . Another thing that is not very manly . . . What can I say, he scratches where I itch and I know no better communicator in America today. He explains that our direction not our intentions always determines our final destination. Since this is true, then why do we spend so much time moving in the wrong direction, assuming we will end up where we want to go (intentions) without aiming in the right direction in the first place?
Here is what I came up with, (ladies you might want to turn away).
Why don't guys stop and ask directions? Four ways to insure we are on the right path.
1. ASK for Directions (Gideon)
2. STOP Going in the Wrong Direction (Samson)
3. SET a Moral Compass (Jesus)
4. FOLLOW Jesus
To be fair, guys are not the only ones who find it difficult to ask for directions. In life we all try to put on the good-looking-right-thinking-proper-acting mask which has an unwritten rule that states, "asking for directions means you are dumb, out of touch, and incapable of finding your own way." This notion is contrary to what the Bible tells us about how we should live. Jesus constantly talks about leaning on each other, living as a community, and giving and seeking help from others. James writes:
"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." (James 1:5 NIV)
Gideon wasn't afraid to ask for directions, in fact, he tested God twice to be sure he was right. This lack of faith was not punished, it was rewarded and Gideon's leadership led only 300 soldiers to defeat the Midianites (Judges 7).
Samson on the other hand never asked for help. He just kept moving in the wrong direction until his wife betrayed him, his strength left him (never cut you hair), and his eyes were gauged out. Finally at the very end of his life he asks for help (Judges 16:28) and ends his life fighting to restore the glory of his youth.
The third message of the weekend will make the argument for setting a moral compass. As a regular compass always points north, a moral compass always points us toward righteousness. Jesus is that compass. When we follow Him we have a constant direction that never leads us astray. If we truly believed this we would spend more time on the right path, headed in the right direction, leading to a righteous life (see what I did there?!).
The last message of the weekend will lead us back to the message series currently being done at Morning Star Church (which is where most of the men at this retreat attend). It is called "Follow" and this might not surprise you to know that this too is an Andy Stanley series . . . . There . . . Justified . . . Pastor Mike likes him too! It is a very good series about Following Jesus.
As many shots as I have taken at guys, let me end this blog by saying I am excited about this weekend and looking forward to spending time with my brothers in the woods . . . Scratching and spitting . . . Oh and following Jesus too!