A GREAT MAN

I love epic stories that chronicle the raw courage and gritty determination of men. Braveheart, Gladiator, Unbroken, The Great Escape, Apollo 13, Chariots of Fire and Saving Private Ryan - to name a few. But do the larger than life characters in these movies define what it takes to be a great man?

If you’re a man, you’ve wrestled with this question before. You’ve experienced the inner struggle of feeling like you just don’t measure up, that others, once they really get to know you, will find you lacking. I have. In the face of my own failings as a husband, father and pastor, I couldn’t imagine that I would ever resemble great men like William Wallace or Eric Liddell.

What does it mean to be a man, a good, Godly and great man? For Young Knights this is a big question. After all, Turning Boys into Great Men is our mission!

When David was dying he gave a charge to Solomon, “Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways….” We find a similar charge to men in I Cor. 16:13-14 where Paul writes, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”

 Manhood, as defined in the Bible, is a functional reality. To act like a man means that you follow hard after God, live and die for what matters, understand and respect authority, stand for truth, respect and honor women, protect and provide, lead, serve, show compassion, make hard choices and finish what you start! But let’s be careful. These things are not a list to be performed. Let’s not put that pressure on boys! These are the overflow produced by the Holy Spirit, the result of our abiding in Christ.

In this blog, I’m not attempting to breakdown a theology of authentic biblical manhood. But it seems important to our ministry to get it straight. And even more importantly, regardless of our age, skin color or social standing, that we’re honest about the struggle and it’s impact in our lives and the lives of those around us. To be blunt, I think it would solve a lot of problems if men acted like men!!!

I want to pick this up in future blogs, but for now consider three simple statements that might help define what it takes to be a great man:  

  • IDENTITY in Christ
  • INTEGRITY through Christ
  • INFLUENCE for Christ

I’m praying that Young Knights will help boys discover who they are and can be in, through and for Christ. I’m praying for God to raise up a generation of great men, men after His own heart!

Rob

 

 

PRAY

This past weekend my wife and I attended Pray Chicago, an event coinciding with the national observance of Dr. Martin Luther King. It was a very moving experience – one difficult to describe with words alone. We came away profoundly challenged and encouraged to see brothers and sisters of all colors and kinds gathered together to pray for our city.

I’m convinced that prayer opens our eyes to seeing what we would otherwise miss. Prayer is practicing the presence of Christ, allowing us to know, see, and experience what can only be found in Him and through Him.

Young Knights is committed to prayer, both its power and practice. It’s built into our organizational DNA because we are convinced that anything truly worth doing, that makes a real difference, comes from God. And so, our desire or more accurately, our desperate need, is for our ministry to be both prayer birthed and bathed!

I’m inviting you to join us as we pray this year for…

                              2 Chronicles 7:14

  • Chicago: that the tsunami of violence, unemployment, homelessness, corruption and addiction that ravage our city would lose its destructive power.
  • The church: that it would stand together as the very manifestation of Christ, overflowing with His love and bearing witness to His grace.  Pray for His church, throughout the entire city, to experience revival, renewal, and a fresh anointing to do abundantly more for His glory!
  • Young Knights: that God grow the ministry and use it to bring about real and lasting change in the lives of the boys we serve on Chicago’s South Side.  Pray for God’s favor as we wait upon Him for direction and resources.
  • Young Knights’ staff and mentors: that we would abide in Christ and His Word, serving as guides seeking to live out the 5 Commitments of a Young Knight in our own lives.
  • Young Knights mentees and their families: for protection, both physical and spiritual. Pray for walls of fear, distrust, apathy, and hopelessness to be torn down and replaced. Pray for God’s presence and provision to be experienced in powerful ways!

Time after time Jesus looked over the crowds, over the city, and he was moved. He had compassion for people, all people, but especially for those numbered among the least, the last, and the lost. May God give us eyes to see. May He give us a fresh vision for Chicago!

Rob

 

THE Gift

           Young Knights' Christmas Party! 

           Young Knights' Christmas Party! 

What a boy wants and what a boy needs don’t often line up.  Ask a boy what he wants for Christmas he might say a pair of Curry 3 or Lebron Soldier basketball shoes. His list might include a new iPhone, video game or something with the word “ball” in it.  The styles and brands and technology have changed, but boys are still boys.

 But when you ask a mom what they want for their son growing up on Chicago’s South Side, what gift they wish they could give him, her answer is likely to be very different.  She longs for him to be happy, healthy and safe and dreams of him finishing school, finding a good job, raising his own family, and becoming the kind of man any mom would be proud to call her son.

 Turning boys into great men isn’t about giving boys everything they want. It’s about giving boys what they need to grow up and become men of good character, men of godly faith, and men of significant influence in their homes and community. These things won’t be found under Christmas trees wrapped in shiny paper and topped with bows. They are discovered and refined and applied over a lifetime. And ultimately, they are found in Christ:  accepting Him, loving Him, serving Him, and following Him!

 My Christmas wish list for each boy involved in Young Knights is this: may they unwrap the ultimate gift, the gift that changes everything, the gift of Jesus Christ - all that He is and all that He has for their lives.  

 No one deserves this gift. You can’t earn it, beg for it, or steal it.  It came at a great price, and yet, for those who receive it by faith, it is ours to unwrap and enjoy!

“The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” – Ephesians 2:8

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…” – James 1:17

“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” – 2 Corinthians 9:15

May we each receive and share THE Gift!

Merry Christmas,

Rob