You Can Have Your Integrity Back

Every man has compromised.  Adam started by choosing Eve over God in the garden and we all have followed suit in one way or another.

One of the profound mysteries of the Gospel of Jesus is that He has offered nothing short of the restoration of our integrity.  I was blown away the first time the Father opened my eyes to this during John’s teaching at a Wild at Heart Boot Camp at Frontier Ranch.  He used the movie Kingdom of Heaven and the story of Balian’s restoration to illustrate this possibility. The movie begins with Balian living out the realities of being fatherless, alone and seemingly abandoned.  Through a strange and redemptive paradox, the Father comes in the form of his earthly father and invites Balian on a journey.

At this time in history Jerusalem was under the tyranny of a cruel and evil king, who was married to Sybilla.  In the course of Balian’s journey, he compromises his integrity in an adulterous affair with the king’s wife.  Later, Balian is offered the chance to become the king of Jerusalem.  All he had to do was take Sybilla as his wife and the evil king would be secretly murdered.  Balian had already fallen to adultery with Sybilla once, in some ways it made sense.  After all, the reigning king was evil and Jerusalem would be better off, right?  But, Balian refuses the advances of Sybilla this time around.  Refuses to “trade a little evil for a greater good” exclaiming,

“it is a kingdom of conscience, or nothing.”

So too is the Kingdom of God.  A Kingdom of Conscience, or nothing.

The movie’s crux is built around the deep question –

is it worth trading a little evil for a greater good? 

It’s a brilliant and central question to the masculine journey for each of us.

Where are you with that question?  Take an honest inventory this week.

The thirties is the decade to make wrongs right;  To own your story and to take responsibility in the places where you have compromised.  There is more on the line than meets the eye.  The Kingdom of God depends on it.  Depends on you.

Some of the most profound and redemptive moments for me in this decade have been owning my past compromises of integrity.  Sitting over coffee with a former girlfriend from back in my college years and owning my responsibility for the sexual intimacy that should have not taken place out of the context of marriage.  Contacting a former employer and owning my lack of humility in a messy situation in the work place.

Where have you compromised and where do you need to come clean?

In the Kingdom of God we are only as strong as our secrets.

Share your story of taking your integrity back.

How Much is Enough?

John D. Rockefeller was presented with that question at the height of his incredible personal wealth in the oil industry.  To which he responded,

“One more dollar.”

How much money is enough for you?  Most men have not given that honest thought. And most, like me, spend much of their life living out the answer with “I don’t know, but more than I have.”

I was presented with that question by a mentor four years ago and it rocked my world.  It took several years to experience a deep shift in my core convictions and all that was wrapped up around them.

Wealth is a moving target.  It is an illusion.

Here’s the trap.  Regardless of where you are today financially, there is someone looking at you saying, “Well if I was only in that guy’s financial situation, then I would be at peace, be able to rest, etc.”  And regardless of where you are today, there is someone you are able to look at and think, “Oh, well, if I was in his financial situation, then it’d be all good.”

So here is the big illusion… no one feels wealthy.  Not even the “rich” guys.

I know, it sounds like heresy.  But look what it truly surfaces… this deep conviction in most men of “one more dollar” would bring me the life that I am looking for.

For years I have asked God to break my agreement that more money will bring more Life.  And instead have been praying for an internal shift.  A choice.  To choose contentment and gratitude, and to pray for Bread from Heaven.  Manna.   Exactly what I need for the life that God has called me to live.  To ask the Father to show what the “something” is that drives me to keep looking for more money to satisfy.

All of my assets, from my income to my retirement, my home and my vehicles, are pretty close to where they were four years ago.  On paper, not much has changed.  But, there has been an enormous shift internally.  Most days I actually feel wealthy.  It has not been a shift in circumstances but rather a shift in beliefs and a response to being fathered by God.

Now, scarcity, fear and self preservation are on my heels and it’s a daily battle.  But the offer is available, for each of us, as young men to look under the hood at our beliefs on wealth.  To let the Father come into them and expose where we are living as slaves and not as sons.

Dave Ramsey said that true wealth is what you have that can’t be bought.

There is a reason that over 90% of all divorces in the first 7 years are attributed to finances. There is a reason that Jesus taught more parables on money than any other single subject.  Imagine how powerful your life would be if you could bring deep resolution – peace and freedom – to the category of money in your life?

How much is enough for you?  Really.  Today.  Look at your life. What drives you?  Motivates you?

If it is “one more dollar” or something close… it’s time to invite the Father into your beliefs on wealth.  The decade of the thirties is the golden opportunity to move from the slavery to finances to the wealth of Sonship.

How much is enough?

Do you feel wealthy?

When will you get there?

Has that target changed in your life from a decade ago?

Find the men that you think are wealthy and ask them if they feel wealthy?

Give a week to it and see where it takes you…

Laugh More. Cry More.

Sht my dad says

I’m wiping the tears out of my eyes right now.  My stomach hurts from laughing.  And I haven’t even been drinking.  Ahh, it’s relief.  No, it’s deeper than that.  It’s restoration.

Four years ago, I sat down with a sage in my life and asked him his counsel for a man in his thirties.  Among the many parables he offered was this golden nugget:

Laugh More. Cry More.

Partly, it left me questioning.  Really?  What’s with that?  But something deeper in me, some young place, felt like it was PERMISSION.  It’s exactly what my soul needed.

So a few recommendations.  I’ve read three books over the last few years that were so funny they drove me to tears.

Grab these books. You won’t regret it.  Put the kids to bed early, crack open a cold one, laugh until it hurts and receive it as a gift from the Father to a son.

Give yourself permission to laugh more and to cry more.  It’s risky.  It’s inconvenient.  It’s essential.

It can be more than relief. If God is in it, it becomes restoration…

 

The Sacred Romance

The Sacred Romance, John Eldredge – The very best book I’ve ever read laying out a Biblical Worldview. Walk with John as He lays out the Story we were born into and the heroic and crucial role we play.

The following is a description from Amazon:

From childhood on, something or Someone has called us on a journey of the heart. It is a journey full of intimacy, adventure, and beauty―but like any fairy tale it is also fraught with more than a little danger. To ignore this whispered call is to become one of the living dead who carry on their lives divorced from their most intimate selves, their heart. The Sacred Romance calls to us in our fondest memories, our greatest loves, our noblest achievements, even our deepest hurts. The reward is worth the risk. God Himself longs for us, if we are but willing . . .

The Sacred Romance strikes a chord in us because more than in any other age, we have lost touch with our hearts. We have left that essential part of ourselves behind in the pursuit of efficiency, success, and even Christian service.

If you long for something more, even if you don’t know what that something is, then open this profound book. Before long you will find yourself eagerly turning the pages to find out what happens next. The Sacred Romance is the story of our lives; it is God’s story. It is His invitation to experience His unfathomable love for us.