Stepping Out In Faith

Steve Arterburn

 

The waves crashed, the storm swelled, the wind howled, and the boat creaked and heaved. The apostles saw Him’Jesus approaching on the waves. ‘Lord, if it’s really you,’ Peter cried out, ‘tell me to come to you by walking on the water.’ Jesus bid him to come, so Peter stepped onto the tumultuous sea and began walking to Jesus. Then the apostle’s attention turned to the storm that surrounded him. His heart melted inside his chest, and his feet began sinking beneath the waves.

Men, being a Christian means stepping out in faith’believing that God is able to turn even the most tumultuous seas around you into a pathway toward Himself. You probably took familiar and safe paths in the past and found they didn’t take you where you needed or longed to go.

Please hear me on this: if you wait for all your fear to go away before you follow the call of Christ upon your life, you’ll never make significant spiritual progress. Courage isn’t the absence of fear. It’s that stubbornness born of faith that causes you to move forward despite the fear you feel.

Fix your eyes on Jesus and don’t look at those unknown and untamed things swirling about. Call out to Him and move in faith toward Him ‘ His hands are always extended and open to you. Yes, you’ll feel fear and you’ll need His help. But move forward anyway. He won’t let you drown, and He’ll catch you if you start sinking.

The Four C’s

Steve Arterburn

A men’s small group is a great place for getting four things absolutely essential to your spiritual well being’things every bit as important as the vitamins and nutrients needed for physical health. The Four ‘Cs’: confession, consistency, caring, and completion. You’ll be spiritually malnourished without them.

 

Guys who meet frequently in a small group setting care about the spiritual welfare of their brothers. They feel safe to honestly talk about their struggles and challenges. Secrets aren’t allowed to fester and thrive. They lose their power as God’s word’and the encouragement of one another’are brought to bear upon them. And guys in a group watch one another’s backs.

 

Men who are connected to one another in small groups move toward spiritual maturity much more quickly than their brothers who remain in isolation. And they’re able not only to stay there more effectively, but to help others move forward as well. Instead of being spiritual castaways, God’s men have a supporting cast around them.

 

Many men are discovering the life-changing difference such relationships can make. They’re becoming close allies in the battle to help one another run the race of faith well, and press strongly toward the finish.

 

Brothers, there are few things in life more precious than Christ-centered friendships. Don’t be a spiritual castaway. Connect with your Christian brothers ‘ find a group ‘ start a group. You’ll be glad you did.

Pain And Pleasure

Steve Arterburn

 

 

David Sper writes in his book Designed for Desire, ‘The root of all sexual perversions and immorality begins with the desire to relieve one’s pain with pleasure.’ It’s natural for us to be seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. So when pain doesn’t go away when we try to satisfy our cravings, we seek bigger and bigger pleasures to satisfy them ‘ to override and erase our pain.

Every sin is the result of an appetite going astray and seeking fulfillment in something other than what God intended. First, we experience that something is missing inside. Then we begin seeking ways to compensate for the void. This becomes especially destructive when we try filling an emotional or spiritual void with something physical.

We want to believe the reason our appetites get out of control is that we’re deprived of something we really need. We may say, ‘If I just had enough money to pay my bills, I wouldn’t need to drink like this.’ Or, ‘If I had someone to love me, I wouldn’t need pornography.’ Harry Schaumburg writes, ‘When people seek a taste of heaven by their own means, they create a living hell of uncontrollable desires.’ He’s absolutely right!

Men, seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness is something you need to learn how to do. The Bible tells us to do it first! Otherwise, you’ll misdiagnose your problem and seek the solution in sin. Learn to direct your temptation to a redemptive end by letting it drive you to Christ.