A Grown Man’s Thanks

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

This is the time of year that we pause and take time to reflect on being thankful. We are ALL grateful for many things such as gifts, promotions, employment, shelter, family, friends, transportation, mentors, church, good food, and days off, but our thanks mostly centers around the good things we’ve seen, received, or experienced in our lives. Although its right be thankful for these things, I have learned there’s a wrong way to be thankful.

This passage of scripture written by Paul to the church of Thessalonica disturbs, disrupts, and derails the context of our juvenile thankfulness.  While, we say that we are thankful for many things, our actions at times prove to be conditional. Paul challenges us with living three simple actions for our lives: rejoice, pray, and give thanks. These actions are seemingly “so simple a child can do it” until you add the adverbs that modify these actions with stipulations. We are admonished to rejoice ALWAYS (when you feel like it and when you don’t), Pray CONTINUALLY (without stopping EVER), and to give thanks IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. Often, like children, we let our situations, emotions, circumstances, and resources dictate our response.

Paul’s letter challenges me to evaluate my immature tendency to do these three things only on holidays, when receiving gifts, or when I feel like it. My heart is challenged to mature from being situationally thankful and move towards lifestyle of thankfulness for all and in all circumstances. This is the blueprint for a grown up response. Giving a grown man’s thanks is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus!

Can we talk about it?

What are some things that you are currently going through that you need a more biblically mature response to?

How does this way of responding to things affect your perceived witness or the way you witness to others?

What Time is it?

We live in a 24-7, microwave, on-demand, and “my way right away “society, where busyness, burnout, and unbalance area waiting those whom work in the marketplace, home, and ministry. One question that is frequently asked in these settings is “What Time is it?” This question, when asked, indicates that the person has somewhere to be, something to do, and is running out of time to do it. The truth of the matter is we are all running short of time. Time is the one resource that we spend, most of the time frivolously, and cannot save it, create it or get more of it. The scarcity of this non-renewable resource makes time a precious commodity which must be managed with the utmost intentionality, thoughtfulness, and purposefulness.

The process of managing our time must begin with first telling ourselves the truth about time. Secondly, we must ask the right questions about time instead of piling things on our plate and cramming in more tasks, relationships, events, and responsibilities. We are frequently rushing from one appointment to the next barely leaving a safe amount of time to realistically get to our destination comfortably while we stress, strain, and strive to do more than the average human is capable of doing on a regular basis. This leads us to tardiness, inefficiency, lack of eating, strain of relationships, insomnia, worry and constant questioning of What Time it is? Given the fact that we are limited in our time and we cannot do it all, our new focus and question should be “What am I doing with my time?” This line of questioning will shift our focus from how much we can get done for God in a given day to the quality of what fills our quantity of time with God!

Can we talk about it?

Have evaluated your time to see where your priorities in time lie?

How is God leading you to utilize your time?

What are some things that you could cut back or cut out to be able to spend more time in your purpose?

Wake Up! Wake Up!

1 Thessalonians 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others: but let us watch and be sober.

Gentlemen, there is an old adversary that has long since remained quiet but active, spreading in a cancerous manner through God’s Men at an alarming rate, causing us to be NUMB to the things of the Christ. This subtle adversary is that of apathy. Webster defines apathy as indifference, dispassion, unresponsiveness, or lack of feeling emotion, interest, or concern. This is a dangerous place for a man to be when it comes to the things of Christ

We do not usually sleep or get tired towards the things of this world. Most men are wide awake enough for their selfish, temporal, and worldly interests; but we are all very apt to sleep concerning the interests of the Kingdom of God and even our souls. The text submits let’s not sleep spiritually as others do because as we sleep the moments that build our purpose slip away, our families, ministries, homes, and peace are under attack. This spiritual sleep causes us to be lazy, ignorant, defenseless, insensible, inactive, unprepared, and unwatchful when this dying world needs us the most.

It is crazy for us to sleep while it’s time to work, time to defend, time to attack, time to pray, and time to be examples of a strong spiritual work ethic. We need to remain alert and intentional about keeping our natural desires and appetites after the things of this world in check and WAKE UP to the things of God.

Can we talk about it?

We sleep in so many areas of our lives as did the disciples who went with their Lord to the garden, and fell a slumbering while he was agonizing. Think about what Christ has done, is doing, and wants you to do. Where is our zeal for God, and compassion for men in view of all this?

What are the areas in your life that need to be awakened?

You Are the Man!

The exclamatory statement, “You are the Man!” is often used in a celebratory, inflating, and ego stroking manner followed by high fives, fist pounds, and chest bumps.  It is usually telling someone how great they did in a particular event or competition, passed a tough test, or after they have secured something coveted by others as if they were lucky and envied at the same time. However in this case, the phrase is accusatory, saying emphatically IT WAS YOU who did the wrong; “You are the man!”

Here’s David in an icky, sticky, and uncomfortable situation having being caught by God and called out by Nathan after flaking out on his job, plotting, lying, committing adultery, pre-meditated murder, and fathering a child from mess. David positioned himself to be the man because he is NOT  where he’s supposed to be, NOT doing his job, and NOT being accountable to anyone.  He even got away with it for a while, and then God sent (2 Samuel 12:1) the prophet Nathan, a new friend, to tell David like it is.  A true biblical friend will read you, restrain, or restrict you at times. Not only does a biblical friend hold you up when you stumble, but that friend also holds you down when you stray. We all stumble under the heavy pressures of life, but we’re led astray by our own, wicked, rebellious hearts—and then we really need a true friend.

Nathan made his point in the form of a brutal story told in love.  At the end of the story, he posed a question in which David answered and unknowingly pronounced judgement on himself. Nathan cared enough about David to speak the truth in love. He was willing to risk the whole relationship to help David get to a better place with God and with others. We all need a man or two in our lives that will celebrate our accomplishments, but more importantly, are willing to be real with us and tell us, “You Are the Man!”

Can We Talk About It?

Why is it important to have a friend who will tell you the truth? How is truth-telling a sign of love?

What cost are you willing to pay if you choose to be a messenger of truth in our closest relationships?

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to tell a friend—or hear from a friend?

Fear of the Fail

I don’t know of one man that does not have a fear of failure. The thought of failing can stir up feelings of stress, anxiety, and fear. We know that we can possibly get back up, dust ourselves off and try again; however this doesn’t make the fall or failure any easier. We always wonder, Was that ok? What will others think of me? How does this make me look? If I am defeated and not consistently successful, how will that reflect upon my life?

Since the fall of man, we have done a great job at repeating failure.  If the truth be told, we are all horribly flawed and incapable of being consistently successful on our own.  Failure, which is also sometimes engineered by God, tends to bring about one stark reality to our lives: we are hopelessly lost without Jesus. Whether our failure relates to a sin that seems impossible to conquer (such as midnight panty raids, five finger discounts, weed chopping, pill popping, lying, procrastination, etc.) or a venture within ministry, business, or a relationship, it helps us to understand that we need to depend totally on God. When we strike out on our own, possibly even to do something for God in our OWN STRENGTH, Failure is imminent!

David understood both failure and victory, experiencing both in many areas of his life, from the battlefield to the bedroom. Through his defeats, David recognized he needed God to transform his heart, which would ultimately transform his actions. We need to place our dependence upon God, stop letting failures be our excuses, and let God transform you for his glory!

Can we talk about it?

What are some areas in your life that you need to trust God to step in and conquer your fear of failure?

How does your fear of failure in certain areas of your life affect those connected to you (i.e. ministry, family, marketplace, etc.)?

This is Risky Business!

In Matthew 14:22-32, Jesus appears to His disciples, walking on water in the middle of a storm. While initially the disciples are terrified, Jesus comforts them and tells them not to be afraid. Soon after, Peter asks Jesus to command him to come. Peter starts out walking confidently on the water, despite the difficult weather situation, but succumbs to fear as he allows his gaze to shift from Jesus to the wind and the waves. Peter’s focus determined his level of operational faith.

Living holy as a Godly man in this present day takes Faith in Christ. When our confidence in Christ is activated deep within, it pushes beyond our threshold of what we are humanly capable off. When the opportunity comes for us to testify to the world by standing out from the “in crowd”, hurdling over the status quo, and jumping out of the boat of mediocrity, will you take the RISK? This desired, but often abandoned, walk of a Godly Man involves his willingness to move forward even where the outcome cannot be proven or guaranteed. It can be a matter of risky business to ignore your circumstances and to go where God is asking you to go.

Peter was willing to move forward into an adverse situation because he was confident in the One who called him out. As long as Peter’s eyes were on Jesus, he was on top of his circumstances, rather than his circumstances being on top of him. However, the moment that Peter loses sight of Jesus, his situation and surroundings took over, and he succumbed to his fears.

As you seek to exercise faith or even to take a risk of faith, your focus is critical. Even though you cannot deny the circumstances of your life, you do not have to be controlled or defined by your storms. Peter’s focus determined the outcome of his risk of faith. In the same way, the focus of your attention will determine whether you rise above difficulties in your faith journey or sink in them.

Can we talk about it?

1. Do you tend to be a “risk-taker” or do you avoid risk altogether? Share a little about yourself and use an example.

2. Peter was honest with Jesus. When he started to sink, “..he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’”. If you are sinking, it’s okay to say so. Jesus reached out to help Peter in response to his request for help. Do you need to be honest about where you are? Commit to be honest with God this week as you seek to stay focused on Him.


Greetings Fellas! The Real men of OTB and TEC are going on the offensive, attacking the issues that plague men on a daily basis through the weekly written series “Real Talk For Real Men”. Our purpose is to provide a medium in which we can stay connected between Real Men events, and to provide encouragement, guidance, and biblical insight on the real issues of life that men face.

With the aim of building trust, transparency, and credibility as a foundation for future interaction, I introduce myself. I’m a husband, a father, a friend, a Pastor, among many other things. Throughout my 36 years of life I have struggled, am struggling, and will continue to struggle with REAL ISSUES. Just like you, I’m a man who has problems with identity, lust, insecurity, depression, fear, manipulation, procrastination, provision, purpose, isolation, etc. The good news is that God has given us answers if we dare to “dig deep” in his word and apply it to our lives.

Starting this week, you will get Real Talk delivered conveniently to your email address every Thursday. We will also archive the topics on the Real Men’s website, realmenministry.com. I want to encourage you to open your hearts and minds, be honest, and be “intentionally engaged”. Let’s discover who God intends for us to be and BE examples for others who are like you, and yes like me.

Can we talk about it?

Pastor Cory Lanier

Men's Ministry