Dear Pastors, Missionaries, Chaplains and Friends,
Steve here…this Sunday is Father’s Day. So I looked up the definition of “fatherhood” in the dictionary and I found the word “father” between “fathead” and “fatigue”. I thought the dictionary was saying more than I really wanted to know. There are a lot of models out in society claiming the true example of fatherhood. The macho model, mask model or milk-toast model. But these men are often “fatheads”.
Our culture is suffering from a manhood identity crisis. Are there any alternatives to help men? We have to go no further than our Bible. In God’s Word, we find God’s model for manhood. In fact, if men choose to follow God’s values for Biblical manhood, men are promised success and satisfaction in life. A man’s greatness should be determined less by the value of their wealth than by the wealth of their values.
The Apostle Paul gave special commendation to two men whose values modeled what God expects of men. The two men were Timothy and Epaphroditus. In Philippians 2:20, Paul writes of Timothy, saying: “I have no one else like Timothy…” (NLT) He was a rare catch and treasured by Paul. Whereas, in Philippians 2:29, Paul writes of Epaphroditus: “... be sure to honour people like him” (NLT). What made these two men so valuable in the Apostle Paul’s eyes? Pastor Rick Warren gives some helpful hints from Philippians 2 on the values God values when it comes to Biblical manhood.
A man should be categorized by COMPASSION (Phil 2:20-21). God is looking for men who will put relationships before results…people before profit. Getting the job done is less important than coming alongside others (i.e. fathers and their kids) and getting the job done together.
The second value that God is looking for in men is CONSISTENCY (Phil 2:22). Men who will put character before conformity. Men who are not afraid of standing alone and being counter cultural. In Philippians 2:22 we read, “… Timothy has proved himself.” The word “proved” (dokima) means you have been accepted after being tested. The character of a man is tested daily. Will you bend under pressure? We all reap what we sow when it comes to consistent character.
A third value is COMMITMENT (Phil 2:25-27). The Apostle Paul calls Epaphroditus a “true brother”, “faithful worker”, “courageous soldier” and “your messenger” (vs. 25). A man committed as a son to his family, a worker to his mission, a soldier to his army and a disciple to his cause. God is looking for men who are more interested in putting the cause of Christ before their comfort, even if that means sickness and possible death (vs. 27).
Lastly, God is looking for men to exercise COURAGE (Phil 2:29-30). Men who will put service before security. Epaphroditus “risked his life for the work of Christ” (vs. 30). Paul says to “honour” men like that. God wants men to be “risk” takers. To step out in faith in our service for the Lord. If men are not “offering themselves as living sacrifices” (Rom 12:1) then we have missed the whole point to life.
Timothy and Epaphroditus were two ordinary joes who were man enough to live sold out for Christ. They modeled these godly values and the Apostle Paul’s testimony of each of them was: “I have no one else like Timothy…” and “… be sure to honour people like him”.
Brothers, can anyone say that of you? In a very recent North American survey of evangelical clergy it was discovered that 70% of pastors do not have a close friend. Not friends or acquaintances, but a close friend. My heart aches if this statistic is in fact true. It’s a problem that needs a solution.
Brothers, please take care of yourselves. Our service to the Lord is a marathon, not a 100 metre dash. It is for this reason I invited Peter and Geri Scazzero to our Fellowship 48 on Nov 5 – 7, 2012 in Niagara Falls. The Lord has used their ministry to encourage men and women to seek emotionally healthy spirituality. The theme of our National Convention is “Vital Signs” as we look at the health of our leaders and discover solutions to greater vitality. This is your invitation to come to beautiful Niagara Falls and be ministered to. Please come. My hope is Fellowship 48 will feel like an oasis to help fill our reservoirs.
Have a blessed week,
From the Fellowship Office
Some of you may have been aware of the declining health of Marilyn Jones’ mom (Steve’s mother-in-law). On Saturday evening she went home to be with her Lord. Please be in prayer for Marilyn, Steve and family especially in these difficult days as plans are made.