Meal Time is Ministry Time

Meal Time is Ministry Time

When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them” (Luke 24:30 NIV).

Many people have the false notion that ministry only occurs inside the walls of the local church.  The truth is we go to worship on Sunday to be fed the Word so that we can be the hands and feet of Christ – to feed others.  However, it should be noted that we need to feed ourselves throughout the week by reading Scripture, prayer and meditation, and small groups.

We are all ministers.  We are all called into ministry through our baptism and profession of faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.  We all have a ministry that 

we have been gifted with through the gifts and graces of the Spirit.  The big question is how and where should we do our ministry?  The Spirit will guide you in this and close, Christian friends will affirm you as appropriate.

Jesus is the perfect role model for ministry.  Yes, he did ministry in the temple by teaching to His fellow Jews.  However, the vast majority of His ministry was done outside of the temple.  It is interesting to me how many times in Luke’s Gospel Jesus sits around a table for a meal.  He regularly shared meals with others, whether they were Pharisees, sinners and tax collectors, or His disciples.  Scripture provides us the ability to learn more of what He teaches about His heavenly Father on these occasions than from what He says in the synagogue.

Meal time is an ideal time not only for fellowship but also to drill down deeper to offer a word of hope, grace, peace, and love.  Meals at the table are some of Jesus’ favorite settings for Him to make visible to others the good news of God’s mercy and acceptance of all people.

One of the primary roles of a husband as stated in the Bible is to lead his family to Christ.  Meal time is a perfect opportunity for the husband to lead by giving thanks to God for the food and all the blessings that He has provided.  Leadership simply means influence. Therefore, a biblically-based husband should influence his family. Husbands are not dictators, they should not demand, they should not rule over their wives. Instead, husbands should influence their wives and families in accordance with biblical teaching. They should exemplify, with their voice and their actions, attributes that bring glory to God and value and honor to their spouse and family.

Meal time is ministry time.  Men, I encourage you to serve your family by leading them in prayer at this time.  The fruit of a good biblically-based husband is a strong, confident, spiritually mature wife and family. 

Prayer:  Dear God:  We are blessed to have an abundance of food.  May we always be grateful that you are the provider of this and all of our blessings including our families.  Please help us to lead our families in such a way that brings honor and glory to you.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.

Thank you for visiting. We trust that you have enjoyed reading our articles.

Defeating the Giants in our Lives

Defeating the Giants in our Lives

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel”   (1 Samuel 17:45-46 NIV).

David was a young boy when he defeated the giant Goliath of the Philistine army.  This is one of the most well-known stories in the Bible.  I was intrigued with the mental pictures in my brain when I first heard this story as a young boy. 

Now, as an adult I return to this story to see what the Living Word can teach me today.  I think most men have giants that are keeping them from being the man God 

wants them to be.  If you want to reach your full spiritual potential and enjoy the fruits of a life well lived, then it is time to step out in faith to defeat the giants in your life. 

  1. Remember how God has helped you in the past
    When you remember the ways that God has helped you in the past, it gives you confidence for the future. David says in 1 Samuel 17:37, “The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”

     

  2. Use the tools that God has given you
    David used the tools that God provided that utilized his strengths. “Then Saul gave David his own armor . . . ‘I can’t go in these,’ he protested to Saul. ‘I’m not used to them.’ So David took them off again. He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag”(1 Samuel 17:38-40). We tend to wait for something we don’t have such as money, education, or connections.  God has already given you the tools to face your giants with confidence.  We need to step out in confidence knowing that God if God is with us, then who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).
  1. Ignore the naysayers
    Later in life, when others were speaking against him, David had to encourage himself in the Lord: “David was seriously worried, for in their bitter grief for their children, his men began talking of killing him. But David took strength from the Lord”(1 Samuel 30:6). When you encourage yourself in the Lord, it’s not just a positive mental attitude. There is power in God’s grace, provision, and security.  David writes in Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
  2. Expect God to help you for His glory
    David stormed the battlefield, shouting, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty . . . This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands . . . and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel”(1 Samuel 17:45-46). God will use anybody who will trust him and expect to be used by him — not because of who we are, but for His glory.

Prayer:  We come to you today with giants in our lives.  Each one is different but each one is similar in that it is keeping us from being the person that you desire us to be.  Help us dear God to step out from worry and step into faith.  Grant us the confidence that you are with us.  Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.

Thank you for visiting. We trust that you have enjoyed reading our articles.

Fathering A Special Needs Child

Fathering A Special Needs Child

1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  John 9:1-3 (NIV)

On April 26, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data on the prevalence of autism in the United States. This surveillance study identified 1 in 59 children (1 in 37 boys and 1 in 151 girls) as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

My second child, Kyle, was born May 24, 2002.  He was a big, healthy baby and was, and will always be, a tremendous blessing to me.  We noticed at an early age that he was not reaching the “typical” milestones for babies and toddlers in terms of walking, talking, etc.  We eventually had him tested for hearing loss, brain function, blood tests, etc.  All of the tests came back normal, but his development was not normal.  In particular, he showed little interest in talking and had a very limited vocabulary. 

We finally had him diagnosed by a doctor and received the diagnosis of PDD-NOS.  I remember looking at that and thinking ok well now we know what we have so let’s make a plan to fix it.  However, I later realized that autism is a spectrum disorder with no known cure, and each person that has it falls onto the spectrum of somewhere between high functioning to severe.  You may recall the movie Temple Grandin which was about an animal science professor that had high functioning autism.  PDD-NOS stands for pervasive development disorder – not otherwise specified, which to me simply means – we don’t really know what your child has so we created a category and called it PDD-NOS instead of WDK (we don’t know).

As a family with a special needs child, the family has special needs.  The family needs schools, churches, restaurants, dentists, etc that are accommodating to special needs children.  We were blessed to find an excellent PreK program at Southdowns Elementary in Baton Rouge.  However, he aged out of the program and we were left looking at our education options which ranged from lousy to expensive.  We declined lousy and hired a private teacher to work with our son.  Also, our church was accommodating and invited us to attend several meetings to discuss setting up a special needs Sunday School room. 

I have heard some parents say that when they received the diagnosis of autism for their child they felt as if part of their child had died.  They have told me that their dreams and hopes for their child have been shattered and they were forced to realize that their child will not live a “typical” life.  I never felt that way.  I believe in continuous improvement.  So, Kyle goes to school year around.  This is expensive, but it is best for his development.  I realize that there are many things he will never do such as get married, drive a car, or play high school sports and that is fine with me.  I focus on the things that he can do.  He can go for walks with me and hold my hand.  He can go to the movies with me and share a tub of popcorn and a soda while we enjoy an animated movie.  He enjoys playing fetch with our dog.  And he can give the best hugs that can cure a head ache much better than any aspirin. 

A child with special needs certainly does put a strain on any marriage.  A 2010 study conducted by the University of Wisconsin at Madison found that parents with ASD children were nearly twice as likely to get divorced than couples without disabled children. The study revealed something interesting: the divorce rates in parents with disabled children did not increase until the children became teens or adults.  My own marriage ended after 20 years when Kyle was 12 years old. 

Kyle has a bright future.   I want him to become as independent as possible.  Like other children, he yearns for his father’s approval and I try to always acknowledge every good thing that he does.  So, there is no need to change or “cure” Kyle.  He is perfect just as he is.  He is a child of God, and a tremendous blessing to me.  I do want him to live a happy life and be as independent as possible. 

We hold hands and pray before each meal.  I offer the blessing and then gently squeeze his hand at the end and he clearly and proudly says “Amen!”   Kyle is a blessing to me and has taught me so much about what is really important in life. 

Prayer:  Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the blessing to be a father.  We recognize that all of us are your children and heirs to your Kingdom.  Help us to raise our children to reach their full potential.  We know that you want all of the children to come to you and that gives us peace.  Thank you for your son and the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.  We love you and need you.  Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.

Thank you for visiting. We trust that you have enjoyed reading our articles.

A Man’s Role in the Family and in the Church

A MAN’S ROLE IN THE FAMILY AND IN THE CHURCH

A man must model genuine godly masculine behavior to his children so that they will grow up as godly people and seek godly partners for marriage. That was part of the message from Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin at the September Man Up men’s ministry meeting at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church. More than 175 men attended.

Interim Senior Pastor Tony Perkins says the men’s ministry program had become less active in recent years. His father, Richard Perkins, had to vacate his position as director of men’s ministries in 2015 due to health problems, and the 2016 flood affected 90% of the church’s members.

Richard was sitting alone at the church last Easter and A Man’s Role in the Family and in the Church by Todd Shupe heard a voice from God asking, “Where are all the men?” He looked around and saw very few men present, and felt a desire to try to reactivate the men’s ministry. He asked Tony to arrange for Lt. Gen. Boykin to deliver the message.

Lt. Gen. Boykin serves as the Family Research Council’s Executive Vice President. He was one of the original members of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force, and was privileged to ultimately command these elite warriors in combat operations. He also commanded the Army’s Green Berets as well as the Special Warfare Center and School. In all, Lt. Gen. Boykin spent 36 years in the Army, serving his last four years as the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. He is an ordained minister with a passion for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and encouraging Christians to become warriors in God’s Kingdom.

The General’s message was to focus on what he calls the 4 P’s:

A man is a provider, giving identity to his family. It is his responsibility to let children know that they belong. He gives direction and serves as the spiritual head of the family.

A man should also be a protector. He physically protects the family from harm and also sets boundaries to safeguard the family from evil. 

The man is the professor of the family. He professes his faith and teaches life skills to children on how to endure hardship and build up confidence. A real man will teach his son how to respect and love women.

Finally, a man is the priest of his house. He is called to be the spiritual leader in the family. The grandfather should always be the priest at a family fathering. This means leading the family in prayer and scripture, and blessing his children and grandchildren.

Richard is a strong proponent of men’s ministry and believes the pastor must be on board to have an effective program. Follow-up meetings in small groups allow men get to know each other and feel safe opening up. The older men can nurture the younger men and this will build the church and healthy families.

Man Up events at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church are open to all men of the community. For more information, please call the church office at (225) 261-2246.

Importance of Men’s Ministry 

  • When a child is first to attend church, 3½% of the families follow.
  • When a wife/mom is the first to attend church, 17% of the families follow. 
  • When a dad/husband is first to attend a church, 93% of the families follow.

Source: The Promise Keeper at Work, 1996-1999, Promise Keepers Authors Dave Sunde, Ron Ralston, Bob Horner

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.

Thank you for visiting. We trust that you have enjoyed reading our articles.

Man Up: Use Lent to Prepare Your Hearts for Easter

Man Up: Use Lent to Prepare Your Hearts for Easter

I love Easter egg hunts and chocolate rabbits, but there is so much more to Easter.  One critical part of Easter is Lent.  Lent is the period of 40 weekdays before Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday, and Sundays are not counted. Lent is often observed with an element of self-denial.  I encourage men to lead your family by intentionally observing Lent which will be rewarding experience.  Below are some steps to consider on your Lenten journey.

Reflect with your Family

If I don’t use Lent as a time of personal reflection, I run the risk of Easter becoming an excuse to take my suit to the dry cleaners and overdose on chocolate.  By observing Lent at home, we can help ourselves and our families grow spiritually.  Remember, our primary church is our home.  I want myself and my family to 

understand that we need to prepare our hearts to experience the joy of the resurrection. This begins by examining our hearts for sin and gently explaining the hard reality that our sin is what separates us from Jesus.  We are all sinners, and the only one to have walked the earth without sin was falsely accused of a crime (blasphemy).  Lent is a time to ask the Holy Spirit to search us and help us clean sin out of our hearts and replace the void with His love and grace.

The observance of Lent can take many forms. There are several devotionals available to help families make Lent a meaningful time of growth and reflection.  Speak to your pastor about appropriate devotionals for you and your family. 

If your family is not in the habit of daily prayer and Scripture reading, Lent is a great time to start.  Lent is also a great time to begin the habit of Christian service and reach out to others with our gifts of presence, prayers, and witness.

Understand True Sacrifice

Lent often involves sacrifice.  Historically, the season of Lent commemorates Christ’s 40 days of fasting in the wilderness which succeeded his baptism by John the Baptist and proceeded the enemy’s efforts to tempt our Lord to serve him.

Many people choose to abstain from a favorite item or activity during Lent. The purpose of this is, in a very symbolic and in a very microscopic manner, allow us to identify with what Jesus sacrificed for us.   When our children are deciding what to fast from, it is important to remind them that a true sacrifice must “cost” us something. This may be giving up video games or candy.

Read Scripture Together

Lent is a great time for the family to carve out time each evening to read Scripture.  The Gospels are a great place to learn about the life of Jesus.   The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope and life  on this earth and beyond.  John 14:2-3 captures this hope, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?   And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Christ separated Himself from previous prophets by His victory over death.  The glory of the empty tomb is beautifully captured in Luke 24:5-6 by the words of the angels to the women when they went to His tomb the next day after the crucifixion.  “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He isn’t here, but has been raised.”  Christ’s death is not the source of our hope.  His victory over death is the source of all hope.  It is the source of life-everlasting and the forgiveness of sins.  Use Lent wisely to prepare your hearts for the blessings of Easter.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.

Thank you for visiting. We trust that you have enjoyed reading our articles.

Todd Shupe Talks Self-Control: ‘Fools Lose Their Temper; Wise Men Hold It Back’

Todd Shupe Talks Self-Control: ‘Fools Lose Their Temper; Wise Men Hold It Back’

The Bible teaches us that self-control is essential to living a Christian life. We must exercise our self-control or we become controlled by our weakness. Our weakness may be food, alcohol, drugs or pornography. Todd Shupe says that enemy knows our weakness better than we do ourselves and will encourage us to go to it rather than God in times of need. According to Todd Shupe, formerly of LSU, our lives can soon be dominated by our weakness and we are living completely in the flesh rather than in the Spirit. Self-control is the very essence of “dying to self” and living in righteousness with God. Our righteousness cannot — and will not ever — come from ourselves, but only as a means of grace from God as a result of totally surrendering yourself to His will and becoming His disciple.

If you are struggling with self-control, Todd Shupe encourages you to first begin with prayer and ask God for His help. Then, go into the Bible and study and memorize some particular verses that speak to you and your particular situation. For me, my go-to verse in times when my patience is growing thin is Proverbs 29:11. It reads in part, “A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back.” We must remember that all wisdom comes from God.  So how does one obtain wisdom?  James 1:5 tells us, If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

The exercise of self-control will not only keep us away from our temptations but will allow us to be a powerful witness for God. You may ask, “How can I be a good witness for God by exercising self-control?” The best witness is one who demonstrates his faith with his actions. St. Francis of Assisi encouraged people to speak the gospel wherever they go and use words when necessary.

Todd Shupe, formerly of LSU, says that self-control will allow you to remain silent when verbally attacked.  It will allow you to respond with love when confronted with hate. Self-control will also keep you pure when you are alone.  Self-control will also keep you sane in times of great adversity, such as a flooded home, divorce or loss of a family member. We freely and willingly yield control of ourselves to God and instead of worrying about what will happen, we stand steadfast in His promise of Romans 8:28. The passage reads, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Self-control does not mean that we are to go it alone. Life is tough and we need fellow Christians for the journey. We need accountability groups that are small, honest and safe so we can be vulnerable and encouraging to each other. Christ encouraged us to come to Him with our burdens and He will give us rest. Read Matthew 11 and then fasten your yoke to a friend!

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.

Thank you for visiting. We trust that you have enjoyed reading out articles.

Live Life Now!

Live Life Now!

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little” (Philippians 4:11-12 NLT).

I have read this Holy Scripture many times and still struggle to understand it.  I am confused how Paul can essentially have the same joy with plenty or with little.   I have traveled to several developing countries and have witnessed wide spread poverty beyond anything in the U.S.  As I reflect back on these trips and my interactions with the local people, I recall their pure joy.  I wonder if their joy is due to the absence of stress.  Most of us would be stressed out if we woke up and found ourselves in severe poverty.  However, there seems to be an inner peace that these kind souls have that is lacking in the developed nations.

I wonder if this inner peace is due to a lack of stress.  We are stressed out today because of a lack of contentment, but Paul learned how to be content with nothing except God’s grace.  We learn in 2 Cor. 12:9, “ But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  This is a high standard for us in the modern world.  We have an inherent drive for more – money, fun, power, control, etc. 

The apostle Paul shows us another way to live.  “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” 

Do not be deceived and think that Paul lacked ambition. This is the same man that took the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire and wrote many chapters of the New Testament.  God taught him contentment.  His ambition did not wane due to his contentment and neither should yours.  They are not mutually exclusive to any of us.

Contentment isn’t laziness, complacency, or apathy.  It is living life now and not waiting for something better (job promotion, new bass boat, etc.) to come along.  We all want to make professional and personal progress, and that is fine.   We should not let our yearning for something in the future preclude our ability to enjoy our blessings of today.  Contentment is the ability to find happiness in your current situation.

I think Paul was using his knowledge of contentment to advise the Thessalonians in 5:18 by writing, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  It is extremely important that he is urging us to give thanks in all circumstances and not for all circumstances.  We are not to give thanks for tragedy, but we can still be thankful in the tragedy because His grace is sufficient for us.

Prayer:  Dear God, We give you thanks and praise in all circumstances because we know that you will bring about good from the bad.  Help us dear Lord to be live life today because tomorrow is not promised.  Each day is a blessing from you and we will surely rejoice and be glad in it because we know that you walk with us in good times and bad.  We love you, need you, and praise you.  Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.

Thank you for visiting. We trust that you have enjoyed reading our articles.

Why Did Jesus Cry Before Raising Lazarus?

Why Did Jesus Cry
Before Raising Lazarus?

Scripture: “When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”  Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”  (John 11:4-7).

One of the most fascinating Biblical stories is the raising of Lazarus as described in John 11.  Many of us learned this story as children in Sunday school.  It is an amazing story of how Jesus raised his friend from the dead.  It is yet another example of the divinity and love of Jesus.  In this story, Jesus cries.   Jesus is showing us all, and perhaps men in particular, that it is ok to cry.  Jesus was divine and also human.  In his human condition, he displayed all of the traits of a true masculine man, which includes weeping and showing empathy for your friends. 

Mary and Martha were sisters and friends of Jesus.  Their friendship is detailed in Luke 10.  The sisters and Lazarus were all from the same village of Bethany and were all friends of Jesus.  The sisters sent word to Jesus that Lazarus is sick.  “When He heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  So when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days, and then He said to His disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” (Luke 10:4-7).

Jesus later reveals to His disciples that their friend Lazarus is dead.  “So then He told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”   (Luke 10:14-15).  Jesus is indicating that He will use the death of his friend as an opportunity to display His divinity to His disciples. 

The chapter reaches its peak upon the arrival of Jesus.  “When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.  Jesus wept.” (Luke 10:32-35).

As a youth, I was taught that Jesus cried because He was upset because the two sisters were crying over the death of their friend.  This is very likely and perhaps is the reason for His display of emotion.  However, I was talking with a friend a few years ago, and he indicated a different possible reason that Jesus cried.  My friend suggested Jesus knew of the beauty and peace of heaven.  Jesus also knew that in order to demonstrate His divinity to His disciples, He would   bring Lazarus back from the dead.  So, is it not logical that Jesus was saddened that His friend would be leaving paradise to return to earth?  The real reason that Jesus cried is unknown.  However, what is clearly known is that He did raise Lazarus from the dead and through the death and resurrection of Jesus we have forgiveness of our sins and shall be raised from our death and join Him in glory.

Prayer:  Dear God:  Thank you for the gifts of compassion and empathy.  Help us to seek out opportunities to be a vessel of your peace and grace to others.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.

Real Men Cry

Real Men Cry

Jesus wept.”  John 11:35 (NIV)

Popular culture has given us a false impression of what is a real man.  Many current television shows portray fathers or men in general as goofy, nerds, or jerks.  When I was a child I thought real men were the cowboys I saw in movies or television shows.  They were tough, didn’t need anybody, and knew how to fight and win.  Today, rap music portrays men as pimps, drug dealers, and absentee fathers. 

None of these are accurate descriptions of real men.  Yes, sadly this does portray some men but not a Godly man.  A real man is a Godly man that seeks God’s face and to do His will.  A real man loves his wife as Christ loved His church.  He leads his house by following Jesus and modeling His servant leadership.  A real man realizes that we are the church and are meant to live in community.  He sees the importance of small groups where he can privately share his concerns and joys. 

A real man will use all of the emotions that Jesus used while He walked on earth.  So, a real man will indeed cry.  Jesus cried and on more than one occasion.  Two passages in the Gospels (John 11, Luke 19) and one in the Epistles (Hebrews 5:7) teach that Jesus wept. In the Gospels our Lord wept as He looked on man’s misery, which demonstrate our Lord’s loving human nature.

John 11:1–45 is the story of the death and resurrection of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha and a friend of our Lord. Jesus wept (John 11:35) when He gathered with the sisters and others mourning Lazarus’s death. Jesus did not weep over the death itself since He knew Lazarus would soon be raised and ultimately spend eternity with Him in heaven. Yet He could not help but weep when confronted with the wailing and sobbing of Mary and Martha.  The well-known scripture “Jesus wept” is indeed the shortest verse in the Bible but also one of the most revealing of the human nature of Jesus.

In Luke 19:41–44 the Lord is taking His last trip to Jerusalem shortly before He was crucified at the insistence of His own people.  As our Lord approached Jerusalem and thought of all those lost souls, “He saw the city and wept over it” (Luke 19:41). We know that Jesus cried aloud in anguish over the future of the city. That future was less than 40 years distant; in AD 70 more than 1,000,000 residents of Jerusalem died in one of the most gruesome sieges in recorded history as the Roman army destroyed the Second Temple.

Jesus was both human and God.  This is the same Jesus that is also the King of kings that defeats satan in Revelation 19.  His miracles displayed His divinity so that both He and the Father would be glorified.  As Jesus wept for his friends or for the city of Jerusalem He was showing us the important human emotion of compassion.   

Prayer:    Dear God, We want to be a man after your own heart.  Give us the wisdom and courage to be a real man and to help rise up other real men.   We thank you for all of the blessings from Jesus including the ability to cry. 

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.

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What Are Your Priorities

What Are Your Priorities?

Perhaps our greatest power is to establish our priorities.  These are the things that motivate us.  Priorities are based on values, beliefs, ideals, and commitment.  They define each of us as a person.  Some are motivated by fame or money.  Others are motivated by their friends or family.  In short, there can be hundreds of reasons that motivate us each day.  It is critically important to recognize that we alone have the power to set our priorities and if we do not set them, then society will set them for us.   Popular culture will set our priorities to feed our flesh. 

If we prayerfully chose our priorities we will use our imagination, intelligence, and desire.   An authentic priority will give your life meaning and will be well defined, provide enthusiasm, and be free from the force of our current circumstances.  A priority must also be realistic.  Some people wait until they are on their death bed to establish their true priorities.  This is a shame.  Nobody with terminal cancer ever wished that they had spent more time at work. 

Our priorities are a product of how we spend our time, money, and thoughts.  As a Methodist, all members are called to faithfully participate support the church with their prayers, presence, gifts, and service.  Doesn’t this sound very similar to time, money, and thoughts?  In short, the church is calling its members to make God a priority and be a disciple of Him

Scripture teaches us that time is important.  “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).  Each day is a gift from God and should be used to bring honor to Him, not ourselves.  I think time is our most precious priority.  If we use our time to help others, are we not showing the love of God?  Consider these holy words from Matthew 25:40.   “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Money is important for all of us to provide for ourselves and our families, but we should not treat it as a “golden calf.”   We often pursue earthly wealth with little to no consideration to God’s blessing.  The pursuit of wealth is beautifully addressed in Matthew 6:19-21.   “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Our thoughts have tremendous power and often lead to action.  Perhaps this is why the Apostle Paul instructed us in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”  Paul elaborates on this concept in 2 Cor. 10:5: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).

We would all be wise to prayerfully set our own priorities.  Be blessed.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.

Thank you for visiting. We trust that you have enjoyed reading our articles.