Craig McConnell

Craig with his King Salmon

Turning thirty (several years back) was an incredibly hard and pivotal time in my masculine journey.  One interpretation of my life was that: things couldn’t be better.  I have a beautiful wife, two remarkable kids, and meaningful work.

But the deeper reality revealed disappointment.  My life wasn’t where I thought it would be at thirty. I wasn’t all I hoped to be, or thought I should be.

It started with a simple question to God.  “God, what should a man’s life be about in the thirties?  What should mine be about? What are the pitfalls?”

No answer came.

For two weeks I sought God and only received silence.  And then came His response.  “Make a list of men you respect and trust.  Start with the oldest men you know and work backward.  Put the question in front of those men.  Go with ears to hear.  I will speak to you.”

Thus began a remarkable and rich expedition of the heart.  At first I began sending out letters and gathering responses.  Through letters, phone calls, and conversations over meals, kings and sages began to pour out their heart to me.  Why did it surprise me?  It had always been there in the Scriptures but I never “saw” it:

Where no counsel is, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding… you will find the knowledge of God…Thus you will walk in the ways of good men. (Proverbs 11:14, 3, 2:20)

The ancient proverbs say,

“When the student is ready the master will appear.” 

Little did I know I was coming to the Father as a student, and he responded as a teacher.  Just as the sacred scriptures promise, I have begun a journey on a path of life, initiation, restoration and discipleship.

Over living out the fruit of these conversations with older men, the blood, sweat and tears materialized into 75 pages of counsel.  I feel compelled to share what I’ve learned with other men in their thirties that are after the gold that is available to them, from the Heart of God.

Through the wild and supernatural ways of the Father leading, he called my bluff and invited me to lead a retreat designed exclusively for world changing men in their thirties who wanted more.  And from that, this blog was born.

My hope is to continue to share the treasures I have found, through life giving pieces over time.  Below is a piece of counsel brought to me (over a cigar, laughter and tears) by my good friend, mentor and supervisor Craig McConnell. I don’t think there is a man in this world that gives me more shit.  But the good news is, he makes up for it every once in a while with a bit of wisdom here and there.  And even when all else fails, at least he buys me beers…  You can learn much more from him and connect with him through his blog.

What I appreciate is that much of what he proposed was framed as sets of paradoxes in stable tension.  His suggestion was that the thirties has much to do about acknowledging and living in these tensions.  Craig and I have spent many hours of many days unpacking these ideas, living them out in the messy realities of daily life, and most importantly, discovering together the divine truth behind them.

I want to share it with you, for your enjoyment, to take to your Father, to ponder over time.  Like a great wine these simple words have aged well, getting richer by the year.  Thanks Craig for believing in me.  Thanks for believing in us… men in their thirties.

indescribable gift

Indescribable Gift

Through narration and artistry, this tapestry of history, tradition and scripture restores the imagination, wonder and awe of the most familiar Story of our faith. It was said by Lewis that through George MacDonald, God baptized his imagination.  For us to ever come into the fullness of knowing God and living in His Kingdom, our imagination needs to be baptized and restored.  This book is a great step. I have found myself returning to it every Christmas season for nearly a decade.  And with every return it leads my once again back to the Scriputures with renewed longing and hope. The ancient stories of Simeon, Anna, Zechariah, even the Inn Keepers are brought to light with the wonder and hope of all that is possible for us through the Incarnation. It is a must read for Christmas with the family.

The following is the description from Amazon:

In ten stirring vignettes, bestselling author Richard Exley tells the Nativity story through the eyes of the real-life biblical characters who were there–Mary and Joseph, the innkeeper, the Magi, the shepherds, even King Herod. Filled with full-color illustrations, The Indescribable Gift will deepen every reader’s faith with its compelling revelation of God’s unimaginable gift to mankind.