Mancave: Why do men and women compete?

july

Why do men and women compete so viciously? Wouldn’t it be simpler if men were Ephesians 5 men and women were Proverbs 31 women? What are these qualities? Are they too simplistic? Is the bible to old fashioned for a world with feminist movements, independent women and the rise of gender equality? Reflect and why not discuss in your men’s group?

Mr President: The Ephesians 5 Man

There is no higher office in any land than that of president: the ruler of all people, and steward of all things in a nation. A president cannot function without his chief of staff, yet we do not call this heart of the presidency the president himself. If we called them president we would ultimately need a new chief of staff.

In a marriage there is no higher office than that of husband. The day a man leaves his mother and father and becomes one with his wife, he takes an oath of office which we hope he will serve for the rest of his life. He tells everyone and God in varied words that he will essentially love, honour, protect and cherish this woman, come what may. That day he becomes the president of his household. That day he is officially ordained as the Ephesians 5 Man. The Ephesians 5 man is the man who answers God’s call to husbands. Ephesians 5 not only ordains men as leaders in their families but it tells men that that leadership should be founded on love and love alone.

Eph 5 1

There are three essential components in this call to a man’s role as family president. First is the call to office;the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour (Ephesians 5: 23).

The second is the duties of office stipulated, ”husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body.” (Ephesians 5:26-30).

Eph 5 2

Finally, there is validation of the husband’s call to leadership “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 this is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:32-33).

The leadership in the home should mirror Christ’s leadership in the church. That is not a small concept. The magnitude of this calling is almost unfathomable. Just simply imagining our little brothers as President of our dear nations one day is mind blowing, yet all husbands are called to a leadership post far greater than that of nations.

For men themselves this call is often daunting and overwhelming. However, men please remember that you are not called to do this by your own strength. The God who chose you will equip you. The person you are called to love and cherish and protect so much is your Chief of Staff. She is more than a woman, just as you are more than a man. The presidents of nations lean on their chiefs of staff; they value their voice and do not see it as a coup in waiting. They communicate deeply and thoroughly with the Chief of Staff. Absolute transparency is necessary for the Chief of Staff to ensure the President is successful in his office. The Chief of Staff doesn’t use what she knows of the President’s weaknesses to cripple him, but shields him, filling the gaps so the world doesn’t see his vulnerabilities. This only works if he is honest with his Chief of Staff about the good, the bad and the ugly. He stands confidently in front of the world, a world that never sees his Chief of Staff propping him up. The success of the Chief of Staff rests in the success of the presidency. Such is the nature of a man’s wife. She is called to be his Chief of Staff and greatest hidden asset.

Gentlemen, there is much greatness to be achieved by simply claiming your birth right as an Ephesian 5 men. For those who after reading this article have realised that this is in fact their first day in office, we as the Real Man Campaign say: ‘best wishes Mr President, your legacy begins now’.

What is a part time dad anyway?

part time dad

What is a part time dad? Many women have found this title problematic as it leads to some dads opting out of responsibilities or time with their kids when they feel like doing so. At the same time, how can a dad be a full time dad if he is not living with the mother of his child and his children?

 

Men – it’s a sticky subject, but let’s get into it. How can men who no longer live with their kids be the best dad they can be?

The truth about real dads

What can we say about fathers?

Fatherhood….our theme at #realman for this month. And on the 19th of June the world celebrates fathers with their own special day. It’s probably not possible to find a topic relating to fathers or fatherhood that hasn’t already been written about, extensively, on the internet or in books. And as we launch our theme of fatherhood this month, it would be easy to write one of those ‘Here’s 5 tips for being a better dad’, or ‘10 awesome things for dad’s to do with their kids.’, or ‘How to parent a step child.’ articles.

Now, don’t get us wrong, those articles definitely have their place and we’ll share a few good ones with you this month, along with some lol worthy videos on ‘How to DAD’. But as we kick off a month talking about and celebrating fatherhood, we thought we would draw on the story of Marius Brown from South Africa, who just ran 1,870 km from Cape Town to Durban to raise awareness about absent fathers (nice one!), to highlight the 4 areas that we try to cover with our content at #realman: inspire, challenge, learn and testimony.

Check out Marius’ story here.

Inspire

Anyone who can run 1,870 km and cross a whole country is pretty inspiring, regardless of why they do it, so hats off to Marius. He had a goal and he endured and he accomplished it. Oh, and by the way, when he arrived in Durban, he ran a marathon the following day!

The article draws a relevant parallel between running and parenting too – “Parenting requires stamina and Marius has the ability to apply his stamina for running towards being an active parent.” This is so true – being an active, involved father, no matter what your family circumstances are, requires stamina – often a lot of it!

true dads

Marcus is just one example of a dad and a man who is inspiring. And we’ll keep bringing you those inspirational stories, articles and quotes – not so you can do what they do (cause let’s face it, we’re definitely not all cut out to run 1,870km!), but so you know that there are ordinary people out there being the best fathers and men they can be.

But where else do you draw your inspiration as a father? Is it from your own father or uncle, is it from your pastor, or a friend, or that guy who’s a bit further down the fatherhood journey than you are. And do you look to God, our perfect, eternal Father, to inspire you in your role as an earthly father? Because let’s face it, we can all do with a bit of inspiring at times.

Challenge

The article highlights that “32.73% of South African children have absent fathers, while 32.34% of them live with both parents and 2.27% have single fathers….. children who grow up without fathers are less likely to finish school, and are more likely to grow up in poverty and be involved in crime…..”. Now, we’ve all heard the statistics and outcomes of absent before, but the point of the article and the point of what we share at #realman is not to pile on the guilt for those who either don’t live with their kids full time, or do live with their kids but are absent in different ways (e.g. they work a lot or they don’t interact with their kids).

But we don’t want to shy away from challenging men to think about how they’re doing in their role as fathers and if they realise there’s things they can or need to change, to do that. And sometimes we need to hear the hard truths before we are kick started into action.

The article says that Marius, who divorced his wife in 2003, realised about 5 years later that he “had to reposition himself as a father”. He ran his first city-to-city run in 2014 to win back his children’s trust. “It had brought us to a point where we could get to know one another again.”

real men real dadsMaybe his story resonates with you and seeing him step up and do something really positive for his relationship with his kids will challenge you to do the same. And here at #realman we’re cheering for you, because we know you can be the champion you were created to be!

 

 

Learn

We all know the sayings…. ‘you learn something new every day’ and ‘once you stop learning you start dying’ (that one’s Einstein and he was pretty smart!). If we’re humble enough to admit it, we all still have a lot to learn, and we have a lot we can learn from each other. “During his recent run, Brown said he stopped in 43 towns along the way to interact with police and communities, discussing the issue around absent fathers.” So he not only ran for his kids, but he ran because he had something to share with others and he wanted them to be better informed, and to see change in his community and nation as a result.

Do you have something to share with other fathers? Your experience as a dad, stuff you have learnt, mistakes you have made (and hopefully corrected!)? Then share it! Use the #realman Facebook page, write for us or meet with other men in your church or community and start learning from each other and from others. None of us will ever be perfect, just like Marius hasn’t got it all right all the time, but hey, he’s growing and learning and he’s going to some pretty amazing lengths to share that with others!

Testimony

At #realman we want to bring you stories of men who are just ordinary men, living life, following hard after Jesus, and being dads, uncles, step dads, granddads etc. We love sharing the stories of guys like Marius, who’s story is a real testimony of overcoming the challenges that come with divorce, actively being a part of his kid’s lives, and then challenging, inspiring and encouraging others to do the same.

But perhaps the best testimonies of all, and the ones we’d love to hear from you, are the ones that point to the best Father of all. The ones that show us that without his saving grace, love and the work of the Holy Spirit, we could never be the men and father’s he’s created us to be.

So fathers, we celebrate you and we hope that this month you are inspired and challenged and maybe you learn a thing or two that will help you along the journey and adventure that is being a dad!

Mancave: Is the notion of men as providers outdated?

may image

Is the idea of men as providers old fashioned and outdated? In the world we live in today what is the fundamental understanding of the role of men as providers and the role of women who also work? Is there a balance? What do you think about this? Head over to Real Man on Facebook and let’s discuss!

The Call for Men to Provide

The call for men to be providers is real. Even in these modern times men are still called to provide for their families. God honours, loves, supports and rewards a man who provides for his family. Read the full article here: http://cbmw.org/topics/leadership-2/men-as-providers/

1 tim 5 v 8

 

Mancave – When a Man Needs Protection

Our #manofthemonth said “Men are more sensitive that women think. Men need emotional protection from anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. They also need to be protected from temptations.”

So even the protector sometimes needs protection. And it’s harder to fulfill your role as a protector when you are feeling vulnerable.

april mancave

As a man, what do you need protection from? And where do you turn for that protection? Needing protection is not a sign of weakness, but where you turn for that protection says a lot about being a #champion and a #realman

ManCave – Are your teens at risk of gaming addiction?

Video games are not bad, it is abuse of video games that has negative effect on families.  It is also an issue among our teens. Being engaged doesn’t mean the same as being addicted. We need to know the difference so we can know when we need to step in.

gad

Let’s talk about it and help each other with healthy ideas on how to help our teens have fun while protecting them from dangerous video game addiction. Here are a few stats on Child Video Game Addiction – they’re a little scary!

Born to be more than a gaming champion

*WARNING THIS IS A GAMING INTERVENTION

Before the death threats start pouring in, please understand; if gaming is merely your hobby and you are able to switch off your PlayStation and actively participate in day-to-day life, then this intervention is not for you.

Many men are passionate gamers, and many of those are actually addicts. There are men who struggle with this and some can feel the effects of it, but haven’t realised that the dark feelings they are carrying can be largely attributed to that one gadget called PlayStation. It is a simple little thing. When you first bring it into your home, you celebrate it, “Finally something just for me, something I can sink into for a few hours to distract myself.” Sweet Escape. And when you see it lying idle in your home you cannot imagine that such a little thing as the PlayStation 4 can decimate a man’s potential and bring devastation to his marriage. Much like a trojan horse, this thing comes into your home innocently while the real enemy is hidden inside it waiting patiently for you to press the power button.

Fifa 16 has allowed you to be the manager of Manchester United. They have awarded you a million dollar salary, and a 5 million dollar budget to buy players. You have the power to make all the decisions. When you excel you can get more money. You are richer than you can imagine, you have a tremendous amount of power. You are the man!

As you sit there hearing the crowds cheer when you team does well, you feel good, you feel proud, you feel strong, you feel capable, you feel affirmed, you feel like a real man. But when your wife comes into the room and interrupts your state of euphoria bringing you out of your fantasy: look at her. Really look at her. The stress lines on her face, the fear and anxiety in her eyes, the desperation in her voice, the frustration in her temperament. Why does she look like that and why does she sound like that? Could it be because she is weary? You promised to look for a job 6 months ago. You promised to make a plan about that plumbing, you promised to go to church with her and the kids. You promised to come to bed last night but instead you fell asleep on the couch with the sound of the spectators from your TV screen as your lullaby. You promised to be her man and father to your kids. Those are hard promises to keep in a brutal world but let’s face it….

You are not the manager of Manchester United. You don’t have a million dollar salary. The crowds are not cheering for you. You are sitting there in your boxers, unwashed, unshaven and losing everything.

vid game

That was hard to say. However, it is essential to squash that fantasy and embrace the reality.

The reality is you are strong, you are capable and most importantly, you are worthy. You can make the choice today to be a real man. If God our Father thought you needed PlayStation 4 to bring glory to his name, your body would have a built-in PS4. But He made you in his image.

Let’s ponder that for a second. His image. Stand outside look around you, the God who made all that you see also made you in his image. Man that is power. How can that compare to a machine that will be redundant in a few years? God did in fact call you to be a manager and a leader, but of something far more fulfilling and sacred than Man U: your family. You are His primary representative, his number 2 guy. Do you feel the magnitude of that? When you walk into your house you walk in as Christ’s VP. That is swagger. That is pride. What is your mandate? Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:22-25.

Christ went above and beyond for his Church. So you must for your wife and family. There isn’t an economy in this world that you cannot conquer, there isn’t a temptation in this world that you cannot overcome. God has never and will never ask anything of you that is not feasible. Trust him and trust your place in his heart. Press power off, don’t even save your progress in that game. It is time to make real progress. Delete your profile that is not who you are; you are a champion that walks among men and is not trapped in a TV screen. Get off the couch get on your knees and declare ‘Jesus, your champion is here’. Get up and live, for that is your right and your blessing.

 

Loving Like A Champion

Most ladies say a good man is hard to find hard to find. That is not true. There is authentic goodness at the core of all of us. Relationships are hard and marriage can be tough. It is a huge challenge for a man to work all day whether it is at the office, in a mine shaft or out on the farm in this economy and in these times of harsh drought; only to come home to a wife who is neck deep in anxiety and frustration over the stack of bills she got from the mailbox and kids with long lists of school requirements and requests to please play football/catch.

Let’s face it seems easier sometimes to just go park yourself in a bar after work and find a moment to call your own; drink up that “dutch courage” then head home in your state of euphoria. Easier in that moment perhaps, but certainly not more fulfilling in the long run. Even in the worst of times, a man can remain at his best and love his family like a champion.

Some of the ways a man can do this is by starting a culture of spaces in his home. Every family needs spaces and gaps for different things such as  playtime as a family, connect time as a family, family logistics time, connecting time with your spouse and “being” space for much needed alone time or quiet time. By talking it through, families can work together to meet each others need for different spaces at home.

Another way is being mindful of the differences between yourself and your spouse. Men and women are different. That is what keeps the world fun and interesting. Comedian and motivational speaker Mark Gungor jokes about how different men and women’s brains are. He says men’s brains consist of boxes, there is a box for everything and none of the boxes are connected. Women on the other hand have a gazillion wires in their brain and absolutely everything is connected. Whether we agree with that parody or not, the fact is we are different, and for the most part a husband spends time trying to make their wives think more like men and wives spend time trying to make men think more like women. Conflicts and disagreements would be resolved faster if we accept we are different and find workable solutions for all.

COUPLE for Feb

Traditionally, especially in Africa, men are expected to be strong leaders and decision makers. This doesn’t mean you are expected to control your wife. Loving your wife or girlfriend like a champion doesn’t mean fixing her or fixing her problems, sometimes all it entails is being there and providing a safe space for her to express herself. Although you are the head of the family you are not expected to know it all or have all the answers. The word of God says, “the steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way” Psalm 37:23. When a man looks to God as his head, his way as the head of the family is lit with grace and he will be guided. Such a man will find that he has and is everything he needs to love like a champion.