Men@War "Group Discussion Guidelines"
Men's and Women's Bible Study will be launching our Spring study here in just a few weeks. As the Pastor primarily responsible for coordinating those schedules, studies, and details, I spend quite a bit of time thinking about this, and as such, praying for our men and women.
The women's ministry of our church has a very helpful set of guidelines for Women's Bible Study. When they meet in small groups the first week, they review the "Group Discussion Guidelines" to be sure everyone knows what's expected. It contains guidelines such as "What's discussed here stays here" and "no husband bashing." These are good guidelines, and great reminders for all of us that, while we can easily slip into less than helpful practices, when we come together in a group to help one another grow in Christ, we should be very attentive not to allow our own sinful nature to wreak havoc on the group.
So, I sat down to write some "Group Discussion Guidelines" for our Men's Bible Study, which we call Men@War. I found myself wanting to say alot of the same things that the ladies guidelines include, and yet, I felt that there was this greater weight that should be communicated to the men. I wanted to say to our men, "Guys, you don't need me to tell you to get serious. You need to simply stop to ponder the reality of what's at stake when we get together." We may show up in jeans, but we're at war. There's a war going on for our souls, and there's an insane enemy out there with alot of power and he's after us.
Satan hates you. Ponder that for a moment.
He hates your wife and he wants her to suffer.
He is after our families. Our Marriages.
He wants to hinder our ministry (1 Thess 2:18).
He wants to lead our wives away from devotion to Christ (2 Cor 11:3)
He wants to prevent your children from believing the gospel (Mark 4:1-20).
He wants to confuse us about who is truly saved (Matt 13:24-29).
He wants to bring hardship into our lives to tempt us to deny God (Rev 2:10).
And Satan rules over "world forces of darkness" and "spiritual forces of wickedness" (Eph 6:11-13) that he hopes to administer in order to accomplish these evil goals and cause us and our families to stumble, to suffer, and to fall.
So there I am, trying to come up with "Group Discussion Guidelines" for our men. I began to think maybe it would be better to just have a Drill Seargent come on week 1 to open the group with our Discussion Guidelines by screaming at us and making us crawl through the mud under serpentine wire while firing live rounds overhead. Men at War.
Having said all of that, I sat down to write "Men's Bible Study Discussion Guidelines" and I ended up writing this instead. Men, here are your discussion guidelines. Consider it a mental preparedness excercise.
Barbed wire shimmering nearby.
Looking down the barrel at the enemy, squinting with one eye.
Dust in the air stirred by the darkness of marching feet
of evil men taking a stand on our land,
and you’re half-praying we won’t meet them.
Comrades in the dirt next to me loading another round.
There were 80 of us. After the last battle, 34 was all they found.
Shells and blood on the ground. Erie sound.
We’re here, weapons loaded and hearts racing,
ready to stand for deep things in our very lives,
while threatened by the enemy whose chasing
our souls, our children, and our wives.
Men, this will not be a relaxing group to be a part of.
It is not intended to be. We're not here to relax.
This group is called “Men at War."
Prepare your heart accordingly as you prepare to join us this Spring to study God's Word.
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