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    FriFridaySepSeptember8th2017 Dependent Masculinity

    For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
    “In returning and rest you shall be saved;
         in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
    But you were unwilling,
    (Isaiah 30:15, ESV)

    That is a verse that my son and I recently memorized together. Of all the verses we have been working on it has struck me the most. It grabs my attention because it is so contrary to what I tend to hear and even foster in my own life.

    The verse sits in the context of a strong rebuke from God toward Israel. As is often the case in my own life, the people of God at that time had taken matters into their own hand, rebelled again and again and were looking for help from other people rather than from God. It is a picture of self-worship and self-sufficiency at its finest.

    However, the life that God calls us into and shepherds us through is not one of self-reliance but one of total dependence, dependence on our loving Shepherd.

    The words of this promise are refreshing. God would have me act in repentance but in a way that is infused with rest. It is a peaceful pursuit and one where I trust in him and not in myself. The New Living Translation puts it this way: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength…”

    I could use more rest, quiet and trust in my life. Could you?

    Unfortunately, my usual protocol looks like “I can do this”, “I can manage,” and “I can fix my problems by myself”. Or, the loudest one: “I just need to work harder.” And, while I must exercise responsibility for my life (even God speaks of the responsibility of repentance, of returning) there are two sides of that coin.

    On one side I can work harder, push harder, believe harder and eventually fall on my face. Or, on the flip side, I can rest and trust, finding my strength in him. The former leads to exhaustion. The latter is my strength.

    For instance, even a quick read of I Corinthians 13 is daunting and leads everyone to the conclusion of “that’s impossible.” I am not patient. I do envy. I do boast. I do fail. My response could be one of working harder. Or, I could experience God’s peace as I rest and trust in him, taking steps of faith and seeing God the Spirit work a heartbeat of genuine love in my life. This is something supernatural. It is a gift from God. It doesn’t mean I don’t work at all. But it does mean I work in a God-reliant way.

    This struggle crosses all ages and both genders. It is not unique to one kind of person. However, it is a topic that connects to men in a unique way. Because of this, we intend to make this the focus of our Men’s Summit this year. How do I be a man, God’s man, do all the things God calls men to be but in a way that is founded on rest and trust, where true strength lies. This is what we are calling dependent masculinity.

    I firmly believe that the weekend of September 29-30 is worth every man’s time and commitment. We won’t solve all of our problems. But I look forward to each of us taking God-honoring next steps of being men who experience God in life-shaping ways, restful ways.

    I hope you join us. You can register at

    ThuThursdaySepSeptember15th2016 Brotherhood

    A few days ago I heard some dogs yelping in our cul-de-sac area. It sounded like a fight by what I heard. I looked out the window from our upstairs bedroom but couldn’t see anything. I heard another commotion within a few more minutes, but shrugged it off. Later, I learned the commotion involved my neighbor, a fellow Christian. He had been bit by one of the dogs while mowing his lawn.

    He and his wife texted us while at the emergency room and gave us some of the details, picture and all. I felt awful. Why didn’t I go out to see what was going on, in case someone needed help? Would my neighbor have been spared those jaws had I been there with him?

    I expressed this to my wife. I told her, chest puffed as full as could be, “I should have gone out, it’s what brothers do! We get one another’s backs.”

    Now, that’s easy to say on this end of the cul-de-sac ambush of 2016. And yes, I’m glorifying the moment a bit much. But it does speak to a camaraderie that we men do share in.

    God has designed men differently from women (thank you Captain Obvious). And this leads to a number of shared similarities that, as a result, bring a connectedness in many great ways.

    Yet it seems that, as Christian men, we could depend on that far more. I know I could.

    Let me ask you a few questions…

    1. Do you have a strong (or growing) friendship with Christian men at Kossuth?
    2. If so, do they know personal details about your life (dreams, disappointments, struggles, goals, etc.)?
    3. Do you have a list of men from our church whom you know on a personal level and whom you pray for regularly?
    4. Are there Christian men in your life whom you laugh with, joke with, and enjoy time with, even when there is no agenda that brings you together?
    5. Do you share a sense of missional impact with other men from our church family?

    This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list. Nor do I mean to suggest that once you answer yes to all five of these questions that you have arrived as a Christian male.

    No, but I do think that matters like these are important for us men to pursue.

    For me it comes down to a fundamental fact that God has not designed us to walk with him alone, but to walk with him together. That doesn’t exclude women, but it does mean that there are unique aspects of the Christian walk where men need other men.

    This year’s Men’s Summit has been tailored to help us grow in these very areas. We will play a lot together. There is too much camp space and free time budgeted for us to fail to come up with all sorts of ways to interact and have fun together. We will worship and pray together. We will discuss mission and Christian growth together. We will encounter God together and in a way that outlasts our 24 hours in a lodge.

    So, come, be a part. Register at

    WedWednesdayNovNovember13th2013 Quit You Like Men
    byDon Whipple Tagged Events Masculinity 0 comments Add comment

    Act like a man. Go ahead, man up!

    Being told to act like a man today typically provokes a blank stare that comes from either being offended or not having a clue to what is meant. In 1611, the word “quit” meant to conduct yourself or act a certain way. That’s why in the King James Version of the Bible the phrase “act like men” found in 1 Corinthians 16:13 is translated “quit you like men.” This archaic meaning of “quit,” while clearly communicating the intended verbal punch 400 years ago, today serves as another reminder of how challenging it has become to simply act like a man. Besides, have you ever seen a picture of how men dressed in 1611? Acting like a man can be quite confusing.

    About 40 of our men from KSBC are participating in an overnight Summit at Camp Tecumseh this weekend to be instructed and equipped to conduct their lives as men in ways that please and honor God. Please pray for us. Please pray for our men. Please read the following few paragraphs of this post and ask God to mercifully meet with us and strengthen us to live lives of mature courage rather than childish self-absorption.

    Typically when we think of being a man or acting like a “man’s man,” we limit the meaning of those terms to the single contrast of gender. In other words, being a man is not acting like a woman. Masculinity is the opposite of femininity. While this contrast is a helpful aspect of determining what it means to act like a man, the other crucial definitive contrast is childishness. Behaving like a man is, at least in the context of 1 Corinthians, more about not behaving like a child as it is about not acting like a woman.

    A quick review of the Corinthian epistle sets up this terse command of acting like men.

    3:1: "But I, brothers could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it."

    13:11: "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways."

    14:20: "Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature."

    While a lot can be said about the blurring of roles and behaviors of men and women, the greater challenge for men is the blurring of roles and behaviors between men and children. There are two expressions of childishness that we all struggle with but they are noticeably present among men today. One writer in his commentary on 1 Corinthians says that childishness often takes the form of self-centered concern and short-term gratification. Can you think of any better or clearer way of expressing the heart of men’s struggles?

    I thank God for our men and the opportunity to wrestle with God together this weekend and hopefully come away changed. We need the transforming power and presence of Christ to face our sinful fascinations and addictions. Please pray that as we spend time with Christ and each other in the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit will expose and transform our childishness into the mature courage of Christ. 

    WedWednesdaySepSeptember26th2012 Why I'm Going

    God has allowed my life to intersect a few times recently with men who seemingly are at the end of their proverbial ropes. Perhaps it is because I am one, but it strikes me as a rare thing to actually witness the feeble blubbering of a professing manly man as he openly acknowledges that he is insufficient for his current life and leadership assignment. As rare as it seems, from my experience of being around broken men and being a broken man myself, there is something profoundly energizing and refreshing for a man who is willing to be identified with the weak and broken. That is why I'm going to this year’s Men’s Summit.

    Both the title and theme of our Men’s Summit in a few weeks are an invitation for men to gather and strengthen each other in the counter-cultural truth that when we are weak we are strong. The title of the Summit is “Dead Men Walking,” and its theme is the importance of suffering and sacrifice in the life of the godly man. Of all the images and models that are pulling at the affections and short attention spans of men today, we desperately need to be drawn to the core strength of weakness to be and do what God has assigned for our good and his glory. That’s why I am prayerfully looking forward to this year’s Men’s Summit.

    Mighty King David had the wind knocked out of him in a big way when his wife and family were captured by the enemy and all his stuff burned with fire. He cried until he could not cry anymore–apparently with many others who were suffering this unimaginable loss. 1 Samuel 30:6b states that after the tears and the threats on his life–everything about him was turned upside down, all his securities were removed–he strengthened himself in the Lord. I want to find more broken men who can do that and learn from them how they do it.

    The demands and privileges of male headship, leadership, and servanthood are often overwhelming. The wisdom, energy, and precision required to love and lead at multiple levels is beyond our natural capabilities. Now add to that the fact that our loving God is committed to giving us strength by making us weak, and you can relate a bit to the average man’s struggle. That’s why you should immediately change plans and make plans to participate in the Men’s Summit on October 26-27.

    By the way, I have a bit of insider information. I know the three current or former KSBC men who will have 30 minutes each to tell their stories of suffering and sacrifice. I am planning to listen carefully and ask at least one question in the Q&A if some of you don’t beat me to it: “How do you strengthen yourself in the Lord when you are at the end of your rope?”

    You may have other questions. You may have never been in the same room with a man as he describes his weakness. Those are good reasons to be at the Men’s Summit this year.  

    Click below to register:

    TueTuesdayMarMarch13th2012 Strong men
    byDon Whipple Tagged Community Masculinity 0 comments Add comment

    I know I have said this before, but one of my favorite Bible passages is the description of King David’s mighty men found in 2 Samuel 23. I am drawn to it for two reasons.

    First, the descriptions of courage and strength excite and stretch my imagination. One guy remains in combat until he is so weary they have to peel his hand from his sword. My favorite is the man who jumped into a pit to kill a lion on a snowy day – talk about facing multiple challenges all at the same time! These guys reinforce a sense of courage and duty that perhaps was on the Apostle's mind as he wrote 1 Corinthians 16:13. As I slowly ponder these descriptions, my imagination is torn from the passive and selfish model of manhood so prevalent today, and I am drawn to view the challenging and difficult as necessary and fulfilling parts of my calling as a man.

    A second reason I connect with this passage is that these strong, highly skilled and courageous men were identified as being in a group with each other. After one guy is described, the next guy is introduced with this incredibly insightful phrase, “and next to him was....” There was a group of thirty of these men, and within the thirty there was a group of three. Sometimes they fought alone, at other times together, but there is a pervasive sense throughout the passage that these guys actively leaned on each other. It seems that what bonded them together was not their strength and courage but the size and strength of the challenges and responsibilities they embraced. It sounds odd, but it appears that in order to get into this mighty men club, you had to acknowledge that your enemy is huge and that you cannot succeed by yourself.

    At this time, KSBC does not have a “men’s ministry” that meets on a regular schedule with a systematic curriculum pointed toward building strong men. And that may not be as bad as it sounds. There are certainly plenty of ways for men who are convinced that the challenges of marriage, parenting and holiness are greater than snowy pits and lions to connect and strengthen each other. I am beginning to think that men’s ministry best starts with men who acknowledge their weakness and then connect in various ways with other like-minded men to support, encourage, bind up wounds, celebrate, and sharpen each other as they push each other back into the pits and battlefields of manhood under God.

    Men, you can connect with other men at weekly Tuesday 6:30am or Wednesday 6:45pm prayer meetings; or you can plug into the weekly Monday 7am group studying systematic theology. You can also contact Matt Niewedde or Drew Humphrey who will help you form a group of 2-3 men that meet occasionally for the purpose of building into each other’s lives.

    I am encouraged by the few "mighty men" groups that get together at various times and places. And I encourage more men to step up and connect with other men in strengthening ways. Let me or one of the other Elders know if we can help get you connected.

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