Fisher Of Men

I’m not sure what it will take,

To pay for that mistake.

The one I made decades ago,

That swung my heart to and fro.

Merry-go-round of emotions since,

The kind of pain that makes you wince.

It promised much and provided little,

Satan asked if he should play his fiddle.

Mocking the death of my feelings,

Taunting me with memories when,

I made active choices to sin.

“But do you remember when…”

“If your wife knew that, then…”

“Your love is fake, your story is a lie.”

Round and round, despair takes my breath.

This must be what it feels like – death.

All of this because I wanted to see,

That which wasn’t meant for me.

Images on a screen, women that weren’t mine.

Innocence taken before its time.

Side effects that can still be felt,

Worse than a bruise, worse than a welt.

Scar tissue that runs so deep,

It’ll hit me like a train and cause me to weep.

And there’s the enemy, back with his fiddle,

Ready to challenge me with another riddle.

“If you loved Jesus, then how could you?…”

“If you were Christian, then wouldn’t you?…”

“How will you pay for all of this?”

It’s true – I’m indebted.

Credit-line with God maxed out to the brim,

And it’s not just my heart that carries the pain,

Marriage causes Beauty to carry my shame.

The burdens too heavy to carry on my own,

Pick up the phone and call one another,

Thank the Lord Jesus for my brothers.

And if I could give you one piece of advice,

It’d be that the forbidden-fruit isn’t worth it.

It’s amazing how crafty and contorted,

Our versions of “truth” can become.

“It’s not that bad to look,”

“I’m just reading a book.”

“But it’s a good movie,”

“And it’s a great show.”

“We’re just talking.”

“It’s not really stalking.”

Oh I fear for the day the Judge returns,

Takes out the gavel as his heart burns,

With just anger and proclaims,

“Away from me, for you never knew me.”

Don’t stay there, my friend.

Walk into the light, and own up to when,

You made some choices that aligned you with sin.

Talk to someone, talk to me,

Ask them how you, too, can be free.

It’s not a joke, it’s not a comedy.

Interfile men because they’re wasting their seed,

Women’s hearts crushed, pleading with God that their men would be freed.

Family’s ripped apart because of sleazy affairs,

Men so emasculated that they have the courage of a young boy,

Because shame has tied a noose around their neck and stolen their joy.

That doesn’t have to be your story – it’s not mine anymore.

Christ, let us out of our heart’s prison,

Pay for our debts, for you’ve already risen.

Raise us up and fill our cup,

Renew our joy and our gifts,

Speak into my heart and give me your voice,

The courage to tell men they have a choice.

The strength to stand when others won’t,

And I suppose I’ll end on this note…

I can’t wait to see,

That which he’s meant for me.

The dreams and visions and ministry,

A fisher of men in a raging sea.

fishers of men

Relying On Him

It was one of those weeks where you never really catch up on sleep – and just when you think the drama has come to an end, there’s a new twist and turn. From family drama to challenging professional interactions, arguments over nothing caused by irritability, and life-changing, deep conversations. From a margarita infused laugh fest to sober tears and lots of pain, there was all of it.

I’m not sure why but whenever life enters that spectrum where success suddenly doesn’t seem to matter all that much, interesting things happen. You’re at work – but you’re not really at work. You’re in the car driving, but your thoughts are taken back to your own memories of pain. You make it home safe, but you’re not sure how.

This week a family member made the strong, challenging decision to break off an emotionally abusive relationship and I couldn’t be more proud. But it’s hard to break away from something that we’ve become used to.

In a way, “love” can become as addictive as a drug, the dopamine that had been released during close times together creates a spiritual tie of sorts. It binds us closer, creates that need for closeness; and that’s one of the many reasons it hurts so much to break a relationship off.

The light that is at the other end of the tunnel is worth it though. I remember the time in my life where I was in a relationship where the other individual wasn’t all-in, but I was – it hurt a great deal to end the relationship one fateful May evening. But what I didn’t know is that just a little while later – on an October evening, I’d meet a woman that would love me wholeheartedly, forgive quickly, and encourage and champion growth together. It was no longer the endless, perpetual cycle of stagnancy; I made financial gains, spiritual gains, and relational gains. “He makes all things new.” Even you. And even me.

My heart has been overwhelmed with the pain of others recently. Thinking about all of the addictions that some wrestle with and that I’ve had to overcome personally. Allowing myself to feel the pain my family-member is going through. Spending valuable time on my phone outside talking brothers off the ledge.

It’s times like these that make me wonder – how does anybody do it that doesn’t know Jesus?

I mean, seriously. How?

Several times over the last week, when someone has overstepped their bounds and interfered with my life and I’ve wanted to lash out in anger, I had to rely on strength that was not my own – it was His.

Several times over the last week, when someone was feeling the same pain that I’ve experienced in the past, I had to rely on strength that was not my own – it was His.

Several times over the last year, as a brother in Christ confesses their battle with purity, and I’ve done the hard thing of giving them tough, Gospel inspired love, calling them to repent and then lovingly embracing them – I’ve had to rely on strength that was not my own – it was His.

So when you ask, how does the eldest of five, newly married, constantly busy, “rock-star-legend” (according to my wife) retail salesmen manage to keep it together (most of the time)? The answer is, I am His. My strength is His. I rely on Him.

I know Jesus, and I want you to know Him too. He saved my life, saved my marriage, gave me hope, and rose again – giving every sunrise new mercies.

There’s a new beginning each day. And we get to live with that hope, because of Him.

I’m praying for you, dear friend, as you’ve taken the time to read this – praying that you would know Him too.

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Brotherly Love

I spend a lot of time with my brothers. Our parents have stayed married and we’ve all lived in the same house for the majority of our lives, aside from the five-year spans that Jordan and myself went to K-State and earned bachelors-degrees (I’m not sure what for though, as the current job-market is oversaturated with college-grads working jobs they’re overqualified and underpaid for, but I digress…).

When you spend that much time with people, they start to see you – the whole you – all of you – there is literally nothing that you can hide from them. I can tell by the tone in their voice or the language they use if they’re upset; I nearly have a sixth-sense, particularly with Tyler, if he’s distraught about something and wants to talk about it but hasn’t gotten up the courage to bring it up yet; and I can tell when Jordan’s anxious when he doesn’t want to leave our room.

Something happens when you know people that well – you really learn how to push each others buttons. Nobody can make me madder faster. From jolly and jubilant to fuming and eager to get out of the house for the day in two-seconds flat.

There’s an interesting element of this button-pushing, I’ve discovered – it’s the tension that comes with varying ideologies, differing levels of relationship with God, and a colorful variety of moral ethics. Our parents can no longer force us to read our Bibles every day and college and adulthood has challenged our thinking and taught us to learn things for ourselves. And we’re all starting to learn some lessons, at our own pace, the hard way.

The Good News? God is a loving, patient, kind, and Good Father.

The Bad News? We’re impatient and fickle with each other.

One thing we all hate is being questioned. When you live in the same house as seven other people, you often end up having to give a reasoning for your decisions seven different times. And when you’re working towards independence and struggling to feel like a man of your own making, you become defensive. Usually by the time the third person has questioned us, we’ve shut down and are done with the conversation.

“We lash out to defend our pride, but is it worth the damage? Severing heart wounds take a long time to heal and words can’t be taken back.” – was the thought I posted on Facebook earlier this week after a particular debacle broke out in my car on the way home from seeing the movie, Deadpool, with the bros.

It’s difficult to watch the ones we love and are close to make decisions that we disagree with, or believe that we have the best practice or answer to. So our first response is to share our solution with them. “Here – let me fix you!” – is the message portrayed as you share the remedy. However, it’s often a deeper, more penetrating heart issue that shows its face as a surface struggle. And what you believe to be loving advice is only going to be taken as an attack on character, if their heart isn’t ready to receive it.

There is a significant importance in finding the right people to give the role of counselor or accountability-partner in our lives. However, if you haven’t been invited into that role, it’s probably because the other person doesn’t want you there (yet). Chances are, however, if the life you’re living is above reproach and you’ve got strong character in an area that I don’t, then over time, I’m going to invite you into that counseling role more and more because I see that your way is good by the fruit that you produce.

Perhaps that’s why brothers can be so critical of each other. They hear each other’s goals, platitudes, statements, and what they believe to be learning and then they witness first-hand the lack of fruit in the current season that person is in. But we often aren’t patient enough to witness growth. We pester and persist that they change this or fix that, in order to become more “successful” like us, until we push them away. Their hearts go into hiding because they don’t believe they are loved as they are. The message actually received is – “I can’t love you now, but I will if…”

And if we profess ourselves to Christians (and every member of the Meyer household would proudly profess to be), then this is no way to love. And I’m one of the first to admit my heart needs renovation. I’d take a bullet for Mom, Dad, Jordan, Tyler, Caitlin, or even Brianna (she’s in this hyperactive obsession with Justin Bieber period of her life right now, so it’s hard to say that ;P – but really – I would).

So why do I share this? I’m not calling any particular member of my household out. Nor do I wish to deface the moral values instilled by my parents that have raised each of us up into golden reputations and a for-the-most-part stellar backbone when it comes to crucial ethical issues. I simply share this because it’s what was on my heart this week. And because perhaps, your family could relate.

Maybe we start with prayer? And we ask God to teach us daily, how to better love those in our lives exactly where they’re at. Because after all, that’s how he loves us.

I think the fruit will come once the seeds are planted. But sometimes you have to wait for rain. Other times you have to pull the weeds. Perhaps there will be a flood and you’ll have to replant. Maybe there will be years of drought. But really, the deepest thing our family needs to know is that we are there, and they are loved.

And brothers, you are loved.

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Where The Men At?

A recent conversation I had revealed the devastating reality that there are few men left. Oh, don’t worry, there are plenty of individuals that can mark “male” on questionnaires, but upstanding gentlemen–good luck.

I wish I could pride myself more-so on my own contributions to the coed relational world, but I’d be hypocritical and dishonest if I were to not admit that I’ve had my own slip-ups here and there throughout my young-adult years. So, men (and women), before you continue reading and pointing fingers at one another, realize that I am first preaching to myself on this topic before I exhort you (and you should do the same). ENOUGH of the finger-pointing within The Church; seriously. Take responsibility for your own actions, exhort your brothers and sisters with biblical counsel, live out your faith, read the Word, and then leave the convicting, heart-changing, and life-changing to the Holy Spirit (He’s been in the business a while and is SO MUCH BETTER at it than you and me–we tend to get prideful and mess things up).

Back to the conversation I was having…A friend of mine sent a Facebook message to me and asked if there was any hope for finding a guy that would wait (for that magical three-letter word, s-e-x), because she was being pressured by all kinds of “men” to compromise on her convictions. My first instinct is probably like yours–“well, they’re jerks, wait and date a gentleman”. Note that “gentleman” is a word compromised two smaller words–“gentle” and “man“–are there any men gentle enough to sacrificially love, wait for, and pursue their bride-to-be?

And men, this is the question I’ve come to realize that many upstanding young women our age are asking themselves, “Are there any real men left?” Or, is it time for them to lower the standards they’ve been raised to uphold, so they may have some slight chance of a man being willing to pursue them? But at this point, what are they being pursued for–for them (ALL of who they are), or simply for the perks in the bedroom? 

I’d venture to say that the women in this world are ready for a new kind of man; Not necessarily an entirely new breed of man, but men that are still willing to uphold old-fashioned principles–like waiting for marriage. Not only that, but as many of you likely know, there has been a societal epidemic of a fatherless generation–where are the men at? Where have they gone? Why do they run from their children?

Men desire respect above most other things, but men, respect is earned

I don’t claim to be the mac-daddy of the dating-world, but I’m fairly certain respect is not earned by shirking fatherly responsibility or pursuing women solely for the provision of momentary fulfillment.

Have I upset enough readers with my bluntness just yet? Great! That’s the goal…guys tend to stay relatively chill about things until it engages their emotions, or hurts their pride a bit. Now that your cage is rattled, tail-feathers are ruffled, and the like…give me a second to calm the waters.

No one is void of responsibility in the issue of men lacking in society. We all need to be doing our part to raise up a stronger generation of men, to become that generation ourselves, and to cherish the women in our lives.

Ladies, you are not all perfect little princesses all the time, so please do not judge your brothers haughtily in this situation. Many of you are fiercely opposed to the leadership of men, which, by the way, is a biblical principle–I hope to find a wife that will be okay with me leading.

Oh, right, I said I would calm the waters… 😉

Here’s the thing…everyone is responsible. And responsibility is lacking miserably in the American culture. If you mess up, fess up. If you are currently in a relationship that is going nowhere, but somewhere it shouldn’t be going, GET OUT OF IT. If you have a baby, take care of it and raise it to be a child of God, an heir to Grace. If you want respect, earn it. And for the love of men’s purity, dress modestly. It’s actually been scientifically proven that the more scandalously-clothed a woman is, the easier it is for a man to view her as an object, rather than a person. Do you want to be someone’s object, or someone’s companion? Attract the right kind of man.

This world is ready for a new class of man. A new brand. It’s seen enough of the Biebers, Timberlakes, Chris Browns, and Barney Stinsons (the star-character of How I Met Your Mother) and is ready to be reminded of what a true, classy man is. It’s time to get old-fashioned. It’s time to be responsible.

Learn from your mistakes. Correct your peers gently. Be overwhelmingly courageous, encouraging, and resilient always. And for the love of humanity, never give up.

Declaration

I’ve been going through some interesting times spiritually. Knowing what sins you need to overcome and then refusing to deal with them has got to be one of the definitions of Christian insanity. How many of us go through such a phase? The Holy Spirit reveals within us things which are not honorable to God and then we seemingly say, “Thank you Holy Spirit, I’ll change that whenever I get the chance, or when it becomes convenient for me.” Then, quicker than the realization that what we have been doing is wrong, the thought leaves us. We walk right back through the seductive, seemingly attractive doors to sin. Once through that door, we’ve suddenly forgot our roots which are deeply found in Christ as our brother and God as our Father. Suddenly, God no longer matters and meeting our next sinful desire consumes us. Sweet for a second, then bitter, turning into a potent poison which corrupts the entire body; that is what sin is. So, we chase after it, giving everything to obtain it…but sin can’t love us, sin cannot fill one up with joy, love, compassion, grace, mercy, and strength. It is capable of no such thing. We become enslaved to sin. It imprisons us in our own chamber of depression, loneliness, and discontentment. Shackled by the bonds of our addiction to that which allured us through darkness’ door, we lose hope.

Living a life of sin is not freedom. What once offered us a pleasurable outlet for our unmet wants and desires is now simply a way of life. Convincing others that we are alright, because of our acquired status, or supposedly “earned” righteousness, we cloak the ugly truth about our hearts with the honey-dipped lies of a smooth tongue…

What a dark way to view the world? Surely, no man can withstand such darkness and remain living joyfully. This is the reality of the world that we live in. I would go so far as to dare any man to prove otherwise…

What is the one thing you have chosen over God? An angry heart, filled with hatred? Lustful eyes which desires can never be met? Perhaps, for you, it is pride; you cannot stand the idea of humility or servitude, so you fight all you can for a high position. There are countless counterfeit affections that we can give our lives to. I know that many times I have chosen something over God. O how much I regret having allowed myself to be deceived by the Evil One. Truly, I say to you that I hate Satan! There is no one on the face of this universe that desires my destruction and the destruction of those I love more than he.

A quote that has constantly stuck with me comes from a John Piper sermon. Piper declares, “The only possible attitude toward out of control desire for sin is a declaration of all out war.” Powerful words for a meek pastor and author from a small church in Minnesota, but he’s totally right. Christians, your desires WILL get you into trouble. Deciding to foolishly chase after them rather than after God, Himself, could very likely lead to death. Not simply your physical life slowly being taken from you, but rather your spiritual relationship with Christ being snuffed out, because you cannot have two masters. God will not be mocked and you will reap what you sow. Galatians 4:24 states, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Paul is writing to the church, declaring that those who walk by the Spirit cannot gratify their evil desires anymore. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we are walking a dangerous and deadly line whenever we choose to not heed such life-giving wisdom.

Remember Joseph from the Old Testament? He was tempted by the seductive house-wife of his master, Potiphar, and Joseph RAN. O Christians, run from sin! Do not dilly-dally any longer in the brook which will surely not give you life! Run! Run back to Father God’s arms…NOW. Not tomorrow, not an hour from now, not when you are ‘ready to settle down’, you must do this right now!!!

Christian, if you are truly a follower of Christ, then this decision will not be as difficult as you and I would like to make it out to be. You see, we gave up our life so that we may be granted fellowship with God and have the rights as sons and heirs of His Kingdom. You may one day graduate from being under the authority of your earthly parents, but you will never graduate from being under the authority of God. Does that statement make your blood boil? Do you believe that you are being wronged? It frustrated me. I have spent a great deal of thought, time, and energy contemplating the various ways to still be a child of God, without fully submitting to his authority, and it does NOT work. How can the Father give you good gifts and entrust you with the things that you want and need, if He is not fully certain that you are indeed His son. Let us assume for a moment that I am the adopted child of a very wealthy man. He has promised to give me my inheritance as He sees me grow and mature. Then, feeling entitled and frustrated with how I must submit to authority, I run away from home and squander everything. Do you think that a wise father in this situation should turn around and reward my foolishness by writing a check for the remainder of his estate? Absolutely not! However, in the story of the prodigal son, Jesus tells his disciples that we can indeed return back to the Father and He will graciously anoint us as His worthy children once again. It requires a great deal of humility and courage to return Home to what you ran away from though…We must also count the costs…Is following Jesus and walking back Home to the Father truly worth dying to ourselves?

I plead with you…surely Christ is worth absolutely everything. There is nothing in this world that can offer you more than He can. Truly, better is one day in His courts than thousands elsewhere. Better than thousands upon thousands…

Readers, I have counted the costs and have decided that He is certainly worth it all. I will live my life solely for Him and for those He entrusts me with, counting all I have as a loss if it were not for my King’s glory. I will become a slave to righteousness and will fight sin to the death. I won’t do it alone though…I will petition the LORD in prayer, need constant reminding and strengthening from brothers and sisters in Christ, and I will always need Jesus and the precious grace that He has offered.

Written in ink, I have stated my pledge to The Father. Will you choose to write yours? Few will inherit the Kingdom of God. According to a Gallup poll, 92% of Americans state that they “believe in God.” How deceived have we become?!?!? Will you and I be a part of the few men and women that decidedly endured the race and finished well? Will we give up the rest of our lives to hear our Father say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”? It is now in your hands. Take responsibility for your many sins and seek God’s help! He is not interested in changing your situation but wants to change (renew) your heart. Humble yourselves and allow Him to work! The strongest, bravest, most courageous, stance that we can take is one of desperation, on our faces, pleading with God for our redemption. If we do this, out of a pure heart, how could The Redeemer not bring redemption?

Praying for the awakening of your souls,

Justin Meyer

Where Is the Life Change?

Chances are that if you walk into a coffee shop, grocery store, café, music hall, school, or even a local church, 80% of those people or more will claim to be Christians. If you were to take a survey and ask each of them, they would claim that they were saved. By doing so, they would be claiming that they are followers of Christ. After all…it’s in the name….CHRIST-ian. My question is does that 80% of the American world really know who Jesus is? Besides the stories you’ve grown up hearing in Sunday School about the cute and cuddly baby Jesus, or the Jesus shepherding the fluffy sheep, and inviting the kids to come and sit with him, do they REALLY know who Jesus is? Do they KNOW who their Lord is? Do people even understand the weight of Jesus Christ being Lord?

In medieval times the title “Lord” was given to individuals who typically owned a large amount of land and had a particular amount of power. They would provide the citizens of that community with protection and the resources necessary to stay alive and in return the citizens would pledge their loyalty to the Lord and serve him in every way required of them. So is Jesus Christ REALLY the Lord of your life?

So back to who Jesus is….not only is He the Lord, but he’s THE Savior! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came down into the world and took on the human form. He lived in the same body that you and I live in and experienced the world in which we live in. He faced temptations, felt pain, tasted fruit, breathed the air, spat into the dust, and loved. The incredible part about the story though…is that unlike EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US, Jesus Christ of Nazareth NEVER sinned. Not once did he break one of the 10 Commandments. Not once did he waiver from the will of His father. He lived a perfect life for 33 years and in the end was flogged, nailed to a cross, was crucified, died, and was BURIED for YOU!!! His flesh was torn apart because I sinned. He winced in pain as whips lashed his back because you live a life of sexual immorality.

The crazier part…He ROSE FROM THE DEAD three days later, conquering death, so that we, the sinners, the ones that deserve NOTHING short of death can be saved and can have the opportunity to enter into a relationship with Him.

Which brings me back to that social gathering place where 80% of those there will claim to follow this Man, this God, this Lord, Savior, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. How can they claim to know Jesus Christ and then continue living their lives in the same ways that they always have? Why is it that there have been times in my personal life where I’ve gone to youth group and then that VERY SAME afternoon logged online and started viewing pornography, making me guilty of adultery, directly disobeying the Lord. Maybe sexual immorality isn’t your stumbling block….maybe it’s anger. Or maybe you’re prideful and refuse to be humbled, maybe you’re selfish. But my question once again is HOW can you claim to KNOW GOD and NOT live a changed life?

Galations 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of Man, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

I spent hours this summer thinking about this verse and examining my own heart and relationship with Christ. I asked myself, “Do I wake up everyday and decide to die to who I want to be and who I am, so that Jesus Christ can live in me? Does the life that I live reflect who Jesus was and is? And most importantly am I living by faith? Do I BELIEVE that God can do HUMONGOUS things and change the world through ordinary, imperfect people like myself?”

Here’s THE CHALLENGE: Chances are that YOU are in that 80%….chances are that you have claimed to know Christ. Please, I beg you, examine your heart and ask yourself the same questions. Can you look back on your life and pinpoint the moment where you decided to TURN from the ways of this world and TRUST in the Lord, therefore SURRENDERING your life to Him?

James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

My hope and prayer is that you will choose to make the decision to turn from the ways of this world and trust in the Lord and then you will begin to apply Scripture to your daily life, making you CHRIST-like! Isn’t that what it’s about anyways? Having a personal relationship with Christ and becoming more and more like Him as your personal relationship becomes more intimate. Similar to how you pick up some of the mannerisms, catch phrases, and other various characteristics of your close friends…

I’ll leave you with this…Paul Washer often says to “new believers” this…”Do you have a new relationship with sin? Because if you have a new relationship with Christ, you better have a new relationship with sin!” Meditate on those words and by the Grace of God may you die to yourself and LIVE in Christ’s name! I will be praying over every single person that is to come across and read this.