Applied Masculinity, Part 3January 8, 2014
Best-selling author and pastor Stu Weber challenges men to be all that Christ calls them to be with the help of the Holy Spirit working in and through them.
Best-selling author and pastor Stu Weber challenges men to be all that Christ calls them to be with the help of the Holy Spirit working in and through them.
Applied Masculinity, Part 3
Bob: When you think about authentic biblical masculinity, do you think about friendship? Stu Weber says being a good friend is one of the four pillars that ought to be in every man’s heart.
Stu: The Friend Pillar is so unbelievably potent, and it’s the one that is probably the most difficult for men. We can accept the King and Warrior Pillars because they’re the strong-side. We can even see the Mentor Pillar a little bit because it has to do with kind of teaching, and authority, and those sorts of things; but somehow, the Friend Pillar never really sees the strength, in our eyes, that the others do. That’s unfortunate because, in many ways, it’s the one that gives you the freedom to deal with all the others.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, January 8th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Today, we are going to unpack what real biblical manhood looks like—what it means for a man to be a king, a warrior, a mentor, and a friend. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. You know, we’ve been hearing a message, this week, from Stu Weber about what God has called us to be, as men—kings, and warriors, and mentors, and friends. I think, when it comes to the king- and warrior-side of being a man, there’s something that resonates in the soul of a guy to say, “Yes, I need to be that guy.”
Bob: But I think, when it comes to the mentor- and friend-side—the more relational-side of what God has called us to be, as men—I think that is, sometimes, scarier for guys—
Dennis: Oh, yes.
Bob: —than to go be a king and a warrior.
Dennis: God made us, I believe, Bob, to be mentors. I believe he called us to step up; and then, to reach down to younger generations and mentor them, and encourage them, and build into their lives. Second Timothy 2:2 says—Paul says to Timothy, “These things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men, who will teach others also.”
One of the things I wrote about, Bob, in my book, Stepping Up, was I have three or four chapters on the concept of mentoring. One of the chapters is entitled “Becoming a Generational Messenger.” I quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer here. He said, “It is the righteous man who lives for the next generation.”
I think men, in their chests, know that they have a responsibility to pass on a legacy of values and of godliness to future generations. They just don’t know how. They need the encouragement to be able to do it. We’ve got a guest on FamilyLife Today—actually, a speaker on FamilyLife Today—from the message that was given to our staff, a number of years ago, who calls men to be that mentor friend.
Stu Weber is a Pastor-at-large at Good Shepherd Community Church in Gresham, Oregon. He’s a friend—he is a mentor friend. I’ve learned a lot from Stu. This message is the third part of a three-part series. If you missed the other two messages, you really ought to go, online, and listen to them.
Bob: The message is available for download or you can stream it online. Stu has already talked about men being kings and warriors in this message. We’re going to hear him, right now, talk about the more relational-side of masculinity—being a mentor and being a friend. Here is Stu Weber.
Stu: Have you ever noticed that men are supposed to know about life? Guys are just supposed to know things. Sometimes, it’s really unfair; isn’t it? How many times have you tried to take the lawnmower apart because it won’t work?—and you’re supposed to know this stuff. [Laughter] How many times have you been asked, “Why is the dog barking?” How, in the world, should you know why the dog is barking; you know? [Laughter] How many times is a man asked, “How come Sally is acting so weird to me at school, Dad?”
Men are just supposed to know about life. We’re supposed to be able to teach life. There’s a mentor in every man’s chest; but if that Mentor Pillar leans to the right, all you’ve got is a know-it-all. You know how unhealthy it is to live with a know-it-all. And if you’ve got a pillar that leans to the left, all you’ve got is a spiritual dunce.
But if that Mentor Pillar is standing tall and straight, then, you’ve got a man you can rely on that will help you find out about life.
My father is a mentor. I can remember my Dad and his Bible from the day he decided Jesus was everything or nothing at all. He made the right decision, and the Bible became my Dad’s textbook. He studied it. We would be watching television in the other room; and he’d say: “You guys ought to come over here. This is unbelievable.” He would teach us by his life and his commitment to Scripture. He always did that. He would only watch two television programs a week—Victory at Sea on Tuesday night and Ed Sullivan on Sunday, sometimes. All the rest of the time, he was in a book about the Bible or the Bible itself; and he taught us life.
Men were made to teach something about life in everything. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. You’re supposed to be teaching life from its spiritual sources, the Word of God, itself.
Let me tell you about a man, who is a mentor—who has mentored all three of my sons. He is their basketball coach. Tom Johnson coaches at Barlow High School, there in the Gresham area in Oregon. Every year, he produces championship-caliber teams from totally-average talent. Oh every once in a while, you know, you’re lucky enough to have some really special ability come along; but usually, it’s pretty much average talent that comes along. He’s still always in the running—always in the play-offs.
How does he do that? Well, he believes that coaching basketball is just a means to develop life—it’s just a means to develop people. So, he mentors his guys. He actually helps them understand that life is a team sport. See, God’s the one that said that. He, who is the three-in-one God—Father, Son, and Spirit—who always does life together—insists that life is a team sport.
When you teach God’s principles, it doesn’t matter what the field is. They always overflow into blessing and accuracy. So, Tom teaches his guys that they’re all a part of the team.
I can remember him saying at a parents meeting, before the season began: “There are 12 of us on this team here. We’re going to have different roles because that’s the way a team is. We’re going to have 5 guys that start; and we’re going to have 3 or 4 guys that we would call support players; and we’re going to have 3 or 4 guys that we might call practice players. You need to know that the practice players are as essential to this team as any of the starters, and the support players are just as essential as any of the practice or starting players. We wish we could start everybody. We’d kill everybody, but the rules say 5. So, we’re just going to start 5; but we’re going to have support players and practice players.”
Then, he would tell stories about past teams. He would say: “Do you remember that guy who was first team all-conference last year? Let me tell you about the guy who made him first team all-conference.” Then, he would mention number 11 or number 12 from the previous year’s team. He said: “In every practice, this guy, that was number 11 or 12, played the opposing position that was up against this guy that became first team all-conference. He made him first team all-conference.” Tom passes out trophies that way, you see—“We’re a team. We’re in this together.”
So, after they’re running lines at the end of practice, you know—the basketball equivalent to wind sprints—I saw Tom blow the whistle and call all the guys into that cyclops, in the middle of the court. He’d put them around the circle, in the middle of the court, and pick one guy out of the 12 and make him stand in the little tiny circle in the center—and say, “Now I want every one of the rest of you, the other 11, to take 60 seconds and tell this man why you’re thrilled to be on his team.” What happens to kids when they start thinking that way? They start thinking together. They start thinking “team.” They start believing in each other. They start believing in the cause. They start believing that “together we can pretty much do this.”
That’s a lot like life; isn’t it? You see, there is a mentor, in every man’s chest, to teach life and life truth—a king to provide, a warrior to protect, a mentor to teach, and a friend to connect.
In some ways, I believe that this is the strongest of all the pillars—that bears the most weight—because if a king can’t connect, emotionally, he probably can’t be the king he was intended to be. If a warrior can’t connect, emotionally, to those who mean the world to him, he probably will never truly be the warrior he should have been. And if the mentor can’t connect with those who are near and dear, he probably will never be able to teach life truth like he should have.
The Friend Pillar is so unbelievably potent, and it’s the one that is probably the most difficult for men. We can accept the King and Warrior Pillars because they’re the strong- side. We can even see the Mentor Pillar a little bit because it has to do with kind of teaching, and authority, and those sorts of things; but, somehow, the Friend Pillar never really sees the strength, in our eyes, that the others do. That’s unfortunate because, in many ways, it’s the strongest of all. It’s the one that gives you the freedom to deal with all the others.
The friend connects. We’re talking about interpersonal, relational, soulish, spiritual connection—emotional connection, if you will. But we, men, tend not to deal with those issues because the strong-side tends to dominate the tender-side; and we lose because of that.
See, if a man, in a home—if his children know that he loves them to the core—they can pretty much handle anything. It’s the child who is loved most who is most easily spanked. The friend has to connect. So, we, men, need to come outside of ourselves and do a little connecting; don’t we? We need to begin to recognize that the emotions that God gave us are gifts that are to be recognized, and utilized, and not stifled.
I’m German by background. Germans are reputationally engineers—aloof, cold, hard, matter-of-fact, all of those things—and our family can be like that.
When I first began to hug my dad, probably, eight or ten years ago—at first, it was like hugging a pillar—you know—kind of ka-boonck. [Laughter] But you see, he grew up in a generation where you didn’t do that; and his German background was strong as all.
Let me just tell you about emotions. I didn’t know what to do with my emotions. I always had a temper when I was a kid. I always would lose my temper, and I would get kicked out of sports events. That wasn’t always, just as a child, either. Sometimes, those temper things—there was some value to them when I was in the military—you know, it can get you ahead if you can dominate, or overpower, or whatever—get more angry.
And then, I gave my life to the Lord, without reservation, to serve Him. I didn’t know what to do with that anger. It kept getting out of control, and out of my way. I didn’t know about my emotions, and I didn’t know how to relate to them, and I didn’t know what to do with them.
Some years later, I was reading a book. It was about midnight, and I was in bed. Linda was asleep beside me. It was a book called We Were Soldiers Once and Young. Something I read moved my soul. I could feel it in my feet, and it was moving up my legs, and it was coming to my insides, and I was alert to my surroundings. I was in my own bedroom, and I was alone. My wife was asleep. I thought, “This is an okay place to have an experiment.” You know? “I’m going to go ahead and let these emotions come.”
And they came. I began to cry. My crying became sobbing, and my sobbing became heaving. My chest heaved. I bounced so high on the bed that I woke Linda up, crying. Where did that come from? I hadn’t the foggiest idea, at the time; but it began to let me know something about my emotions. I began to get some coaching.
You know, coaching is—if you’re going to know about life—you know, it’s a team sport—and you know you weren’t intended to make this alone. You can teach and help those around you understand that it’s okay to get help when you’re dealing with life. Smart people get help—dumb people don’t.
I began to work on some things in my emotions. That began to free me to think special ways about lots of things. I’ve always deeply loved my sons, and they’ve always known that. I’ve always been a hugger of them, probably, in response to the German background, you know—but to really, truly, soulishly connect eyeball-to-eyeball—I longed more and more and deeper and deeper for that—and it began to come.
I remember, one time, when one of the boys was home from the freshman year in college. Do you remember what the freshman year in college was like? I could see something happening in my son as he would come home on breaks. He wasn’t himself any more. We were cleaning the garage one day. It was time for the Friend Pillar to stand up and bear some weight.
His back was toward me as he was holding a box. I said, “Buddy, what’s happening?” I could see the muscles in his back tighten as he put the box down. He straightened up. He turned around; and he looked at me—this big, strong, 6’2”, 220-pound youngster—looked me in the eye, his eyes glazed over. He said, “I don’t know, Dad. I don’t know! I don’t know! I don’t know, and that’s the problem! I don’t know anything! I’m going to school with people that have known they were going to be professors of psychology, and pediatricians, and architects, and engineers, from the time they were four years old; and I don’t even know what class to take next semester—let alone what major I should declare—let alone what I should be! I don’t know anything!”
It was a very disorienting thing for a young man, who orients his world from the inside out—something I needed to learn, as a mentor—you have to know your students, you know. Then, I heard my own voice, speaking across the garage. With all the emotion in my soul, I heard myself saying: “Well, I don’t know either, Bud, but I know this. As long as there’s breath in my lungs, I’ll be with you.”
His face changed, and his eyes smiled. He said: “Well, I guess that’s all I needed to know! That’s all I needed to know!” Then, he came toward me, and I went toward him; and we embraced. We’ve always said bear hugs are the best; but, when we embraced this time, it was so good our beards locked up—you know. [Laughter] There’s going to be another book, some day—Locking Beards. [Laughter] But when our beards locked up, something beautiful happened. I felt his warm tears on my neck, and he felt mine on his. Do you think there isn’t anything we wouldn’t do for each other? No. He knows and I know we’re here for each other, period.
That kind of connection—that emotional, soulish, spiritual, eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart connection—allows us to bear weight in one another’s lives. God made a man with a friend in his heart to connect. Somehow, we’ve got to let the friend start connecting. Then, when circumstances arise in life, all that we need to think through is, “Which pillar needs to bear the weight?” Make sure the right pillar gets up underneath the weight of the moment and lifts it.
Bob: Well, we have listened, this week, to a message from Stu Weber talking about men understanding the four pillars that God has put in their heart—what it means to be a king, what it means to be a warrior, what it means to be a mentor, and what it means to be a friend. It’s a challenge for guys—to be the man that God has called us to be is not something that we can just say, “Oh, okay, I’ll do that.”
It’s something that we grow into over a lifetime, and we rely on the grace of God to be this kind of a man.
Dennis: Yes. Bob, this whole assignment of being a mentor is a bit of a mystery, I think, to men. I think men need some practical coaching of what that looks like. I tried to provide that in my book, Stepping Up. I make three points about being a mentor—a mentor is available, he’s purposeful, and he’s authentic.
Then, I listed a number of lessons that I’ve learned from mentors who have built into my life. I’ll just share with you a few of them that I list in the book:
The best measure of what a man can do is what a man has done.
Another thing I learned: Making bad decisions helps you learn how to make good decisions.
Once the facts are clear, usually the right decision jumps out at you.
Communication is not what is said, but what is heard.
Here’s one I learned from my dad, who mentored me: Debt is dangerous.
Another one: Lifelong male friendships are challenging, but every man needs a friend who can speak truth into his life.
A couple of others: Praying with his wife is the most powerful thing a husband can do every day.
And then, finally: A life lived without God, the Scriptures, and complete daily surrender to Jesus Christ is a wasted life.
Now, what are those principles worth to a man? Well, I’m going to tell you something. For me, they were like a North Star—like a guiding GPS system—helping me stay the course in the midst of the storms of life. It’s just not easy to be a man today.
Frankly, there’s a lot of clutter—a lot of noise, a lot of distractions—that, frankly, want to seduce us and destroy us, as men.
Bob: Let me ask you about the mentoring relationships in your life. Are they formal relationships? Would somebody know he’s mentoring you? Is that kind of established, or is it just friendships that you lean into for wise counsel when the moment calls for it?
Dennis: Well, you know, it may start as you just described there, Bob. It may start as just a friend who you’ve gone to for wise counsel, but it may grow into something of a formal mentoring relationship. I’m thinking, right now, of Dr. Howard Hendricks. When I spoke at the Dallas Theological Seminary’s commencement, I ran into Prof—that’s what we always called him—Prof Hendricks. I ran into Prof the day before I was to speak at commencement on Saturday. I said, “Hey, what are you up to?”
He said, “Well, I’m going to my granddaughter’s wedding tonight.” I said, “Are you going to be there tomorrow when I speak at commencement?”
He goes, “No, we’re not planning on attending.” I said, “Well, you can pray for me.” He said: “I’ll do that! You can count on it! You’ve got my prayers.”
So, I’m arriving a bit early on Saturday to speak. I’m getting out of my car, in the parking lot. I look over; and there is Prof and his wife Jeanne. They’re all dressed up—they’re walking in. I walked up to them. I said: “You rascal! You told me you weren’t coming.” He said: “You know what? I had to be here to hear you speak at commencement.” I have to tell you—that was really humbling. I got on the phone and called Barbara. I said, “I’ve just been touched profoundly by Prof one more time.” I think that’s a picture of what a mentor does.
Bob: Now, I’m thinking of the tens of thousands of guys that we are hoping will be a part of the one-day Stepping Up™ event that we have planned for Saturday, February 1st.
We’re calling it Super Saturday because there’s a football game the next day that uses the same word, “super”, in their football game.
We thought, “What a great day for guys to get together and forge some of those mentor and friendship relationships as they go through material from you, and Crawford Lorritts, and Stu Weber, and Voddie Baucham, and Matt Chandler, and Robert Lewis, and Josh Harris, and Bill Bennett, and Tony Dungee—I mean, the guys that we’ve assembled to be a part of this one-day Super Saturday event.” It is a pretty great collection of guys, and it’s an easy-to-execute video event that you can do in your community.
As I said, we have hundreds of guys who have already stepped forward and said, “I’ll host it in our church and in our community.” You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link for Stepping Up; and there’s a map there with all of the locations where the event is being hosted in cities, all across the country.
There’s still time. If you wanted to host an event, you could still pull this off. You could get the materials from us, invite guys to come on up to the church, and host your own one-day event for men, on the day before the Super Bowl®. So, why don’t you plan to host a men’s Stepping Up Super Saturday event in your community?
Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click on the men’s Stepping Up link to get all the information you need about how you can host one of these events, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. We have a coaching team that can answer any questions you have about how you can pull off one of these events in your community.
If there’s not an event that’s happening near you, you can have your own in-home event. We’ve come up with a Stepping Up in-home edition—where you and your sons can go through the material together, or you and your small group of guys can get together and go through it, or you can just do this on your own if you want to.
You contact us and get the workbooks you need. We’ll include a license where you can watch the videos, online, any time that weekend—whatever fits your schedule—go through a session, take a break, come back, do a couple of sessions, take another break—however you want to do it. You can do it on your own with your sons, with another small group of guys. The in-home edition is a convenient, easy way to go through this material—and maybe, what you want to do is everybody gets together and go through the material that weekend—and then, watch the game together on Sunday night.
Find out more about the Stepping Up in-home edition when you go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com. Click on the link for men’s Stepping Up. However you choose to join us that weekend, we hope you’ll be a part of this special day for guys—this Super Saturday Stepping Up event. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more info; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to talk with the pastor of Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas.
His name is Todd Wagner. He’s going to share with us what he has been doing, as a dad, to help raise his sons to be godly young men, and about what he’s doing with his daughters to help raise them to understand biblical femininity. That comes up tomorrow. Hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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