The Masculine Mandate in the Church

Our Oxford Club for Men group resumes this Saturday, December 10, at 7 AM, at the church office, with our ongoing study of Richard Phillips’ book The Masculine Mandate. Newcomers are always welcome!

After breakfast (bring your own please) we will discuss chapter 12, The Masculine Mandate in the Church.

Here is a sample from that chapter to whet the appetite:

So it is the Word of God–by grace of God taught, heard, understood, and applied–that accomplishes all progress within a church. From this, one conclusion is abundantly clear: any Christian man who wants to serve the Lord, in any role and at any level, must begin by devoting himself to God’s Word. A man who is weak in the Word of God will be of little use for service, for we cannot truly serve God effectively in our own knowledge and strength. But God’s Word stirs up in us the faith and spiritual strength needed to serve Him (p. 137).

You can access a copy of the study guide for this chapter by clicking The Masculine Mandate – SG #12.

The Best Friend

Last Saturday’s Oxford Club discussion in Richard Phillip’s The Masculine Mandate may have been the best yet. We tackled chapter 11, Men in Friendship. Phillips argues that biblical masculinity starts with a commitment to our wives and children to work and keep (see Gen. 2:15), but it doesn’t stop there. Meaningful relationships with other godly men we call friends enter into the mix as well.

Toward the end of the chapter he makes this statement: The best friend is always one who turns our hearts to rest upon the Lord. He draws that principle from the account of David and Jonathan in 1 Sam. 23:16 were Jonathan went to his friend, David, on the run for the express purpose of strengthening his hand in God. Rightly so.

Thus we asked on Saturday, what does it look like to act as this kind of best friend? How do we strengthen one another’s hands in God? We came up with four things.

First, we point our brother to the promises of God. This came from Phillips himself as he argues from 1 Sam. 23:17 how Jonathan reminded David that God ordained him to reign as Israel’s next king so he need not fear Saul’s murderous threats. Phillips adds: A godly friend ministers primarily to the faith of his brothers in Christ, seeking to build up their trembling hearts and protect them from the danger of unbelief and fear. Few things help that battle more than the unshakable promises of God.

Second, we comfort our brother with our presence in his suffering. This we took from the example of Job’s friends in Job 2:11-13. Job’s friends were at their best when they just sat with him for a whole week in his suffering. Things went badly down hill from there. Discernment knows the difference between a time to strengthen with words of promise and  a time to comfort with a silent, compassionate presence.

Third, we support our brother with our prayers for his strengthening. Jesus modeled this in preparing Peter for his three-fold denial in Luke 22:31-34. Our Lord countered Satan’s threat to His disciple through intercessory prayer that ensured Peter would survive the onslaught and even use it to strengthen the other disciples in their need.

Fourth, we help our brother with our provocations of his obedience. Hebrews 3:12-14 urges best of friends to exhort each other daily in light of the deceitfulness of sin and the potential for hardening of the heart. Anyone can flatter but only true, loving friends risk all with loving reproof when needed.

Do you have a friend in Christ who does such things for your welfare? Regard him among the best of friends. Are you that kind of friend to others? They will rise up and call you blessed.

Masculine men, friendly men, strengthen one another’s hands in God.

Men in Friendship

This Saturday we resume our study in Richard Phillip’s excellent treatment on manhood entitled The Masculine Mandate.

We have come to chapter 11 – Men in Friendship. The author derives numerous practical principles from the relationship of Jonathan and David in the book of First Samuel.

Here is a sample to whet the appetite:

Jonathan’s example with David shows us that a godly friend ministers primarily to the faith of his brothers in Christ, seeking to build up their trembling hearts and protect them from the dangers of unbelief and fear. This is the Genesis 2:15 work-and-keep mandate at work in the important arena of male friendship. When we come to a friend and “strengthen his hand in God,” we restore his wavering faith to its certain confidence in the unfailing promises of the Lord (p. 127).

For help with your reading and study you can click on The Masculine Mandate – SG 11.

Bring your own breakfast and join us for the fellowship and interaction at the church office from 7 AM to 9 AM!

Preventing Provoking

This Saturday our Oxford Club for Men meets at 7 AM at the church office. We will continue our discussion over Richard Phillip’s book The Masculine Mandate.

Chapter ten deals with our keeping role of disciplining our children as godly men.

Here is a taste from the chapter, some excellent words relating to not provoking our children to anger as Paul prescribes in Ephesians 6:4

In order to avoid provoking our children to anger, we must be fair and judicious in placing demands on our boys and girls. We should not be personally abusive (agian, all abuse  undermines rather than enhances authority). I want my children to think of themselves with God-given dignity and self-respect, and this requires the proper praise and respect of their father toward them. Here’s a rule I try very hard to follow: I will always be on my children’s side, even if I am punishing. I will never be against them and I will never speak to them with contempt (pp. 117-18).

Lots more good stuff where that came from. Look forward to digging in with you on September 17 for breakfast, fellowship, and study.

The DNA of Godly Men

Today’s message from 2 Samuel 23:8-17 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

Here’s how I closed the message:

Brothers, only Jesus makes us mighty men – as we depend on His strength, devote ourselves to His service, daringly act for His pleasure, and ultimately delight in His sacrifice as David’s greater Son. May we more thoroughly than ever orient our lives around Him for the praise of His name and the joy of those we serve.

Praise God for every man who stood for prayer to grow in gospel might!

Man as Shepherd-Lord

This Saturday in our Oxford Club for Men meeting we turn to chapter five in Richard Phillips’ book The Masculine Mandate. This chapter lays the final section in the doctrinal section of the book before turning to practical application in chapters six and beyond.

In it Phillips makes an urgent plea for men to live out the image of God within them by exercising servant lordship or leadership in keeping with texts like Genesis 2:19-20.

19 Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

Even as Adam exercised lordship dominion in the right to name all the animals in the garden, men are to assume responsibility for their roles of servant leadership in all the spheres of their lives. He argues from the shepherd model of leadership plastered all over the word of God, especially in the ministry of Jesus (John 10:11), in his appeal for men to act as leaders who make the well-being of those entrusted to their care their ultimate concern.

He writes:

The way for Christian men to leave a lasting legacy is for us to embrace the Bible’s model of servant-leadership. Our goal must be not just to carve out success for ourselves but to leave a blessed imprint on the lives of those who are under our care. This can happen only when we as shepherds are ready to give our lives for the sheep, as did Jesus, our Good Shepherd. . . . Christian leaders must learn to measure our success in the security and inspiration of those who follow us, in their growing confidence and ability, and in the achievements of others rather than our own (p. 47).

Brothers, join us on Saturday morning at 7 AM at the church office as we consider how to embrace our roles as shepherd-lords that we might leave a blessed imprint on the lives of those who are under our care.

Among Masculinity's Greatest Excitements

Most exciting things about manhood?

Easy.

Hunting, fishing, shooting, football, basketball, baseball, most other balls, biking (motorized or mountain), climbing, diving, flying, camping, riding, cooking (hey, it’s my list), lots of things.

Oh, did I say hunting?

But what about holiness?

You want to put spiritual growth on a list of masculinity’s greatest excitements?!

Richard Phillips does in his book The Masculine Mandate. He argues from 2 Corinthians 3:18 this way:

God is increasingly working His own glory into us degree after degree, and He is doing this by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, whom God has sent to make us increasingly holy.

One of the most exciting things in my life is my growth in holiness, called sanctification, which the Bible identifies as the glory of God in me. . . . How exciting that God is working in me with the power of His Holy Spirit, to make me more like Him. What I am now is not all there is–praise the Lord. There is increased glory ahead for me, as God works in me through His word and through prayer by the power of His mighty Spirit (p. 38).

This Saturday Oxford Club for Men at OGC continues its study of Phillips’ book in chapter four, Man As the Image of God.

It’s not too late to get in on the action. Join us at 7 AM at the church office this Saturday for a bring-your-own breakfast and group discussion.

You might end up putting your experience of the doctrine of sanctification up there along side or even above dressing a white tail deer as a result.

Hustle & Give in the Workplace

Richard D. Phillips makes a strong case in his book The Masculine Mandate for industry as part of a Christian man’s godly identity.

In chapter three, Man’s Sacred Calling to Work, he writes:

In our fallen world, shadowed by the curse of death and futility, we either work hard or our families suffer. According to the book of Proverbs, industry is an essential characteristic that men should cultivate: “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich” (Prov. 10:4): “Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth” (Prov. 12:27). Yet I sometimes hear pastors or Christian psychologists tell men they should never be late for dinner or have to travel away from home for work. I disagree. It’s true that men should not pursue their work so single-mindedly that family duties are excluded or consistently compromised. But in our fallen world, men have an obligation to hustle and give their all in the workplace–and this may involve some late nights and business trips. Of all men, Christians should work especially hard, giving more than an honest day’s work for a day’s wage (p. 19).

This Saturday morning from 7 AM to 9 AM at the church office we will continue our discussion of Phillips’ book in this very chapter. To access the pdf study guide click on The Masculine Mandate – SG #3. Remember to bring your own breakfast.

We’re still getting started in this new resource, so don’t hesitate to join us if this might be your first time!

Masculine Mandate & Oxford Club for Men

Our next meeting for the men of OGC will take place on Saturday, Feb. 5, at 7 AM at the office.

If you need a jolt to motivate yourself to jump in on our study regarding biblical masculinity, take a gander at this clip.

Sobering, to say the least.

If that doesn’t rattle your cage and make you want to read chapter two in Richard Phillip’s book, I don’t know what will. It’s not too late to get on board and join the discussion. We’ve only tackled the first chapter so far. Copies of the book are available at the resource table on Sundays for $7.50.

Here is the study guide for chapter two to help get the most out of your reading.

The Masculine Mandate
Study Guide #2

1. What character from literature, film, or TV have you identified at some point as a “walking cornucopia of manliness?” How would you sum up that character’s approach?

2. How again does Phillips define our calling in life (Gen. 2:15) on p. 12? What two words say it all?

3. What would you say best describes your understanding of your calling before encountering Phillips’ grid? How do the two perspectives compare and/or contrast?

4. How would you unpack in your own words the first component of our masculine mandate? How does 2 Thess. 3:6-15 (not cited in the book) add to your insight about this component?

5. What two areas belong to the “gardens” to which we as men are called to give ourselves as cultivators? Of the two, where do you feel more competent and why?

6. What great misconception regarding gender roles does Phillips attempt to explode on p. 14? How do you react to his statement: God has given the primary calling of emotional and spiritual nurture to men and many of us fail to do it well? Why do you think men struggle with nurturing?

7. How would you unpack in your own words the second component of our masculine mandate? What further insight do you gain from Psalm 128 about this dimension of our calling?

8. How does the author exhort us to apply our responsibility to “bear the sword” at the bottom of p. 15? Where do you find yourself most challenged in these three areas and why?

9. How does Phillips define greatness at the end of the chapter? Whom would you identify as an example of this in your own life or in the greater body of Christ today and why?

10. What steps of practical application do you derive from this second chapter? How might you approach your own masculine mandate differently as a result of the reading and our discussion?