Join “The Courageous Project”.


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I’m starting the interesting task of gathering stories from men of all ages telling of a time when they acted courageously.

It’s called “The Courageous Project” and I want YOU to be a part of it.

The goal is to have at least 100 stories of regular men doing courageous things.  Not stupid things.  Not necessarily even dangerous things. Courageous things.

Things like these…

1.  A time when you acted with integrity and it cost you.

2.  A situation when you had to stand strong even when it seemed things were caving in around you.

3.  A time when you had to make a decision that was not popular with friends or family but was the right thing to do.

4.  A time when you had to make a tough business decision but you acted with integrity.

5.  Maybe it was something dangerous that you did, not for fun or to be seen, but because it was the right thing to do in the situation. You put the well-being of others above your own.

Whatever your story is, I want to hear it.  No matter how simple or common you think your story is, share it.  Your experience may change the life of another man who is facing the same thing you went through.

Here’s a sample of a story that a man shared with me earlier this week…


Leroy’s Story

I met Leroy at a store the other day and started a conversation with him. After we talked for a while, I asked him this question:

“What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?”

“Fighting in the Vietnam War.” was his answer.

He shared one of his stories with me, as well. He was manning an M-60 in a pit by a bunker when a mortar landed right near him and knocked him unconscious. While he was out, the Lord spoke to him and changed his life forever.  He serves the Lord to this day and is thankful for his Savior.

Fighting in an unpopular war for the freedom of others is courageous.  So is fighting the spiritual battle for your family’s freedom from sin and bondage.

So what’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done? It could be a thousand different things so don’t sell yourself short!  Whether you’re young, middle-aged, or older, look back over your life and share your most courageous moment so far.

Your story may inspire someone else to stand strong when backing down seems like a good option.

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Will you please take time to share this with people you know on Facebook and other media outlets?  Let’s get the stories coming in!

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Share your story here!

Monster vs. Mourner. Taking a look at other men’s sins.


Guys, how does it make you feel when you see one of your Christian brothers fall?

If you’re honest, you may admit that it makes you feel good about yourself. Maybe even a bit superior to the one who fell. As you look back over the past few weeks you’ve made some pretty good progress.  You’re really moving forward.  You’re standing strong. You feel invincible!

Not like that guy, right?

It reminds me of the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector that Jesus told in Luke 18:10-14….

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.  

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.  

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

 

The Pharisee seems pretty pleased with himself.  His prayer time consisted of reviewing his position and good works.  He was proud to tell of his giving and sacrifice.  He was thankful that he was better than the sinners – the failures – who surrounded him. The tax collector, on the other hand, stood off to the side. He humbled himself before the Lord, acknowledging his great failure and need for God.  Jesus tells us that only one went away justified – and it wasn’t the one who had it all together.

I listened to a short devotional today – a recording by Thomas Brooks titled “Other Men’s Sins”.  It’s amazing what you can learn in just a little over two minutes.  I’d like to share it with you, too.  Maybe it will make an impression on you like it did me.

In the audio clip Thomas Brooks says we should view other men’s sins with sadness – that we should mourn their sins. When we do, it helps us recognize our own fallibility and even helps us guard ourselves against failure in those same areas. When we are truly grieved by other men’s sins, we’re reminded of our own fleshly desires and the temptations that we must face and overcome daily.  At one point in the devotion, he makes the statement “he fell today and I may fall tomorrow”.   When we think this way, we’re more likely to stay on our faces before God rather than lifting them up in pride.  We recognize our own potential to fall when we hurt to see other Christians fall.

And to those who do find pleasure in seeing a Christian fall, here’s a sobering thought…

When you rejoice at the failures of those around you, you are like Satan.

That’s what he does. He rejoices when a Christian commits a sinful act.  He laughs when a man of God fails.  He smiles the smile of pride when he convinces a Christian to disobey God’s word.  It gives the devil pleasure.  Thomas Brooks said men who are like this “are rather monsters than men”.

So where is your heart right now?  Do you mourn when you see a brother fall or do you find pleasure in it?  If we’re honest, most of us have probably been both the mourner and the monster at different times in our life.  Let’s agree together right now that we will love our brothers in Christ and help them get back up if they fall. Let’s pray that the sins of others break our heart and remind us of our own imperfection and need for God’s grace.  Because we will all need it.  No matter who we are.

Take a couple of minutes to listen to the clip from Thomas Brooks then leave your thoughts in the comments area below.

Strength & Honor.

That Angry Gentleman at the Restaurant


The man’s facial expression betrayed any attempt he might have put forward to hide his frustration. I could tell when I caught a glimpse of him. My family was sitting behind his table at a local restaurant, close enough that I could hear his annoyed huffing, but far enough away that he didn’t feel me staring at him — which of course I couldn’t help.

He was an older man, white hair, wrinkled skin. The woman with him was older, too. I assumed it was his wife, which led me to assume that their tense moment was merely an indication that seasoned marriages can still have their share of arguments — though I can’t be sure.

I had heard him yell. That’s why I was looking at him. I wasn’t looking at him before the sudden scream startled my family and me — and everyone else around him. I had been minding my own business, tending to the attention my kids needed. But then this man, presumably someone’s grandfather, got loud.

The gentlemen had somehow spilled his glass. His table was submerged under water and ice. I looked quick enough to still see little tributaries falling off the edge of the table, into his lap, onto the floor. That’s when I knew his yell was more of a wordless curse. It could have been the colloquial four-letter French, and maybe it started as that until he muffled it into the unintelligible grunt-like sound it was, all of which made me kind of thankful.

But then he glared at his wife like it was her fault. Was it? Did she knock over the water? No, she was too calm to have done that. She sat there docile, quiet, unmoved by the heat that emanated from this gentlemen’s red forehead. What is the story here? I wondered. Others might have wondered the same. More patrons were watching by then. Quite the scene was forming, though it was nothing yet compared to what it would be.

In a strange way I was pulling for this man, hoping that he wasn’t really the jerk he was appearing to be. I was sort of cheering for him, in the deeper levels of my consciousness, hoping that he’d crack a smile or pat his wife on the back — anything to undo this image he was projecting of himself.

And then he started flinging water.

The wordless cuss led to a gestured cuss as he proceeded, with his bare hands, to wipe the water off the table. It wasn’t polite, though. He wasn’t doing the waitress a favor. It was a sweep of aggression. He backhanded the puddle of water and ice in front of him, sliding it out of his sight, but with too much force.

There was another couple sitting beside him, another older man and woman, probably married, and the angry gentleman was splashing water on them now. Actually, it was mainly the woman at this other table who bore the brunt of it. The angry gentleman, not paying any attention to anyone else, was splashing water on another man’s wife. Not once or twice, but at least three good slaps came across the surface of that table, water and ice raining sideways on an innocent stranger five feet away. Then the gentlemen at this other table got angry and yelled at the original angry gentleman to stop, to watch what he’s doing, to quit flinging water. Is this a movie? I laughed to myself. Is there fixing to be a fight?

There was not a fight. The gentleman with the splashed wife firmly told the angry man to stop, and he did. More than that, his face turned redder than it was before. I suppose if a human could dramatize the equivalent of a dog putting its tail between its legs, I was seeing it happen. The angry man said something, cowered over his left arm crossed in front of him, and dropped his head until his right fist propped it up by his brow. He didn’t manage to look up the rest of the time I stared at him — which of course, and surely you understand, I couldn’t help.

It was a sad moment all over again. From seeing his unbridled anger to how he made a fool of himself to the wake of embarrassment that everyone was left to dine in. It was sad.

Then I realized it was me.

Okay, it wasn’t really me. I wasn’t the angry gentleman in the restaurant on this particular night. But I’ve been angry before, and I must look just as stupid.

I’ve never spilled water and splashed it on strangers, but I’ve been annoyed and it’s affected innocent people around me. I’ve never yelled a wordless curse in a public setting, but I’ve spoken with less than a charming tone to my kids when they knocked over a cup full of juice. And my anger, though not public, though it doesn’t disturb the dinner of neighbors yet, is no less a spectacle than the red-faced tirade of that old man.

That is the thing with anger, and the thing I needed to learn — perhaps we all could learn — from a scene like the one this angry gentleman put on. Unrighteous anger, no matter where it’s at, is silly.

Anger is always telling us something, and most of the time, if we’re honest, it’s saying we’re ridiculous. Remember that we have a Father in heaven who knows our every need (Matthew 6:32). He has numbered the hairs on our heads, and he holds our lives in his hands. He tells us that though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, we don’t have to fear (Psalm 46:2). Which means, when we let sin have its way, anger points to the banality of our passion, our little anxieties, our desperate need.

Child, our Father must think, it is just a glass of water.

 

Original post by Jonathan Parnell can be found on http://www.desiringgod.org