Sunday, December 7, 2014

From ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!’ to Giving God the Glory

Mitsuo Fuchida led the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor but Later Was Led to Christ...

Some evangelicals have followed Christ for as long as they can remember. Others, through God’s grace, make U-turns. Many of us know the story of John Newton and his change from enslaving men physically to freeing them spiritually. Japan has been a very difficult mission field but it also has remarkable stories, and here’s one: How Mitsuo Fuchida, the flight commander who led the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 73 years ago tomorrow, came to Christ

The armed forces newspaper Stars and Stripes gave WORLD permission to run the following, first published on Dec. 7, 2008, and based on an interview with Fuchida by Hal Drake that first ran in 1971. —Marvin Olasky.

Shortly after Mitsuo Fuchida led the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he discovered just how fortunate he was to be living.

Along with the 21 holes that visibly pocked the 39-year-old’s aircraft, a mechanic on the aircraft carrier Akagi found a frayed elevator cable that dangled from Fuchida’s reconnaissance bomber by a single thread. If it had been severed, the inevitable crash could have killed the flight commander—whose radio message “Tora! Tora! Tora!” was the final go-ahead for the attack that drew the United States into World War II.

To Fuchida, who did not consider himself a spiritual man at the time, dodging the flak over Pearl Harbor was a lucky break. But as the war wore on, escaping death became a rite of passage for the man, leading him 30 years later to tell now-retired Stars and Stripes reporter Hal Drake that “someone had his hand on my head.

Mitsuo Fuchida was born in 1902 to the master of the primary school in Kashihara, about 15 miles southeast of Osaka. His maternal grandfather was a fiery nationalist samurai who was imprisoned for fighting against Emperor Meiji’s edict to defeudalize Japan.

In Drake’s 1971 interview, Fuchida said his grandfather’s tales of former days of glory influenced his choice to pursue a military career. They also planted in Fuchida’s young mind a poor opinion of Westerners.

As part of his training cruise with the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy during his senior year, Fuchida was visiting San Francisco Bay aboard the cruiser Yakumo when he learned about the recently passed Immigration Act of 1924. The act prohibited Asian-Pacific people from immigrating to the United States.

“The Japanese and the Chinese built our railroads and the Panama Canal; of course, they were offended,” Donald Goldstein, historian and co-author of At Dawn We Slept, and Fuchida’s biography, God’s Samurai, said during a recent interview with Stripes. “We didn’t want them.”

Fuchida in October 1941.President Franklin D. Roosevelt said Dec. 7, 1941, would be “a date that will live in infamy,” but for Imperial Navy Capt. Fuchida, it would long be remembered as overdue payback that would restore respect for his ancestors and nation.

Japanese success at Pearl Harbor was so shocking that “a story went out saying it wasn’t Japanese flying those planes, but German pilots in Japanese planes,” Goldstein said. “[The U.S.] did not think they were very good.”

The aftermath offered a different assessment. The Japanese lost just 29 aircraft. The U.S. Pacific Fleet lost 2,403 lives, 21 ships—including almost every battleship; 188 aircraft were destroyed and another 159 were damaged.

Fuchida said years later that he mourned those who died aboard the USS Arizona and other ships. But he told Drake he did not regret his role in the Pearl Harbor attack.

“It was a war,” he said.

After flirting with death at Pearl Harbor, Fuchida geared up to lead the June 1942 attack on Midway Atoll. But he came down with appendicitis six days before the pivotal battle commenced. Forced to look on from Akagi’s bridge, Fuchida watched the other Japanese carriers sink as a dive-bomber from the USS Enterprise scored a hit on the Akagi that sent Fuchida flying.

With both ankles broken, Fuchida was dragged from the smoking debris and put aboard a destroyer. The remaining pilots Fuchida was to have led—those who survived the U.S. Navy’s onslaught—had nowhere to land and crashed into the sea after running out of fuel.

Fuchida told Drake that providence had again saved his life.

“I would have died,” he said. “I know I would have died.”

Medically grounded, Fuchida accepted a staff position with Vice Adm. Kakuji Kakuta on Tinian, an island near Japanese-occupied Guam. Two weeks shy of the American invasion to liberate the islands, Fuchida was ordered to Tokyo. When the Japanese failed to repel the invasion, Kakuta and his staff chose seppuku—the samurai suicide ritual of disembowelment.

“Again the sword of death had missed me only by inches,” Fuchida told Drake. “What did it mean?”

Perhaps the most convincing proof that he was being sheltered from death, in Fuchida’s mind, came at war’s end. After Okinawa fell in June 1945, he was ordered to Hiroshima to organize aerial defenses for a final stand against the Allied juggernaut. On the evening of Aug. 5, Fuchida was abruptly directed to attend a briefing 500 miles away. 

As he ate breakfast in Yamato the next morning, Fuchida learned that everyone he’d been working with in Hiroshima had perished, along with thousands of other Japanese, in the atomic explosion that flattened the city. His next task was to return with a dozen officers to assess the aftermath.

A few weeks later, Fuchida’s role in the war came full circle when he was on hand to witness Japan’s surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2. Still, death continued to shadow him.

Each of the officers who had accompanied Fuchida in Hiroshima started showing strange signs of illness. Some walked languidly, while others lost their appetites. The officers began losing their hair, and their teeth rapidly disappeared. Just 20 days after strolling through the bomb wreckage, the first member of the assessment team died of radiation poisoning. 

“Like drowning men letting go of a lifeline,” Fuchida told Drake, explaining how one by one members of the team perished—with the last, on his deathbed, assuring Fuchida he’d be next. But Fuchida displayed no symptoms and was released from the hospital.

Defeated and depressed, the warrior returned to Kashihara to help his wife raise their two children and undertake the unfamiliar family business of chicken farming.

“It was a rainy day in my life,” he would recall. “Life had no taste or meaning. … I had missed death so many times and for what? What did it all mean?”

In the months following the war, the U.S. military began conducting war-crimes trials, which Goldstein said disgusted Fuchida. He believed war was war, and things should be left at that.

But because of his military relevance, he was summoned to Tokyo in 1947 by Gen. Douglas MacArthur to testify. Before taking the stand, Fuchida was determined to collect his own evidence, confident it would prove that Americans were as inhumane toward Japanese captives as were his countrymen against whom he was to bear witness.

A boat returning 150 Japanese released prisoners was to return at Uraga Harbor near Yokosuka.

“Fuchida would gather his proof there,” Goldstein said. 

As the men walked toward him, Fuchida spotted a familiar face. Kazuo Kanegasaki was a sailor and friend he thought was long dead. Fuchida asked Kanegasaki about his treatment in U.S. captivity. That he was treated relatively well was a surprise, Goldstein said, but what followed “would ultimately change Fuchida’s life forever.”

In his book, God’s Samurai, Goldstein writes that Kanegasaki told Fuchida of a young girl named Peggy Covell who cared for the Japanese—not only with respect, but as a sister would treat a relative. What was so amazing was that her parents were Christian missionaries whom Japanese soldiers had killed in the Philippines, but only after the missionaries asked for 30 minutes of prayer.

But what good is it to pray to a God who could not even save her parents? Fuchida pondered. And what did her parents pray?

Kanegasaki didn’t know.

Fuchida went to the trials a bit bewildered. He researched what he was told and was astonished to discover it happened as Kanegasaki said: The Covell parents were praying as Japanese swords took their lives.

Fuchida became curious about the Christian god.

He again was ordered to testify in 1948 and, as he got off the train at Shibuya Station, a Western man handed him a missionary pamphlet titled “I Was a Prisoner in Japan.” The subject was Jacob DeShazer, one of the Doolittle Raiders whose carrier-launched B-25s bombed Japan in 1942.

DeShazer’s plane crash-landed in China, where Japanese occupiers captured and imprisoned him.

After his capture, DeShazer was repeatedly tortured and witnessed the execution of three of his crewmembers while another slowly died of malnutrition.

Like Fuchida, DeShazer couldn’t understand why his life was spared amid so much death. A friend lent him a Bible, which he quickly devoured. Moved by the story of Christ asking for forgiveness of those who crucified him, DeShazer vowed he would return to Japan to do missionary work if his life were spared.

For a second time, a story of the human ability to forgive one’s enemies rocked Fuchida. This time it stuck.
“That’s when I met Jesus,” Fuchida told Drake. “Looking back, I can see now that the Lord had laid His hand upon me so that I might serve Him.”

Story by Paul Newell. Used with permission. ©
Stars and Stripes.

A second ‘day to remember’

Mitsuo Fuchida, in his book From Pearl Harbor to Calvary (first published in 1953 as From Pearl Harbor to Golgotha), wrote about his reaction to Jacob DeShazer’s pamphlet:

“His story, printed in pamphlet form, was something I could not explain. Neither could I forget it. The peaceful motivation I had read about was exactly what I was seeking. Since the American had found it in the Bible, I decided to purchase one myself, despite my traditionally Buddhist heritage,

“In the ensuing weeks, I read this book eagerly. I came to the climactic drama—the Crucifixion. I read in Luke 23:34 the prayer of Jesus Christ at His death: ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ I was impressed that I was certainly one of those for whom He had prayed. The many men I had killed had been slaughtered in the name of patriotism, for I did not understand the love which Christ wishes to implant within every heart.

“Right at that moment, I seemed to meet Jesus for the first time. I understood the meaning of His death as a substitute for my wickedness, and so in prayer, I requested Him to forgive my sins and change me from a bitter, disillusioned ex-pilot into a well-balanced Christian with purpose in living.

“That date, April 14, 1950—became the second ‘day to remember’ of my life. On that day, I became a new person. My complete view on life was changed by the intervention of the Christ I had always hated and ignored before. Soon other friends beyond my close family learned of my decision to be a follower of Christ, and they could hardly understand it.

“Big headlines appeared in the papers: ‘Pearl Harbor Hero Converts to Christianity.’ Old war buddies came to visit me, trying to persuade me to discard ‘this crazy idea.’ Others accused me of being an opportunist, embracing Christianity only for how it might impress our American victors.

“But time has proven them wrong. As an evangelist, I have traveled across Japan and the Orient introducing others to the One Who changed my life. I believe with all my heart that those who will direct Japan—and all other nations—in the decades to come must not ignore the message of Jesus Christ. Youth must realize that He is the only hope for this troubled world.

“Though my country has the highest literacy rate in the world, education has not brought salvation. Peace and freedom—both national and personal—come only through an encounter with Jesus Christ.

“I would give anything to retract my actions of twenty-nine years ago at Pearl Harbor, but it is impossible. Instead, I now work at striking the death-blow to the basic hatred which infests the human heart and causes such tragedies. And that hatred cannot be uprooted without assistance from Jesus Christ.”

Fuchida became an evangelist and remained one until his death in 1976.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Church Can Be A Funny Place

Church bulletins often contain some of the funniest lines around. For years, we've been a big fan of these malapropisms and want to share some of our favorite chuckles with you:

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.

The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth Into Joy".

Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days,

Announcement in the church bulletin for a National Prayer and Fasting Conference: "The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer Conference includes meals."

Charlene Mason sang "I Will Not Pass This Way Again," giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

Next Sunday is the family hayride and bonfire at the Fowlers. Bring your own hot dogs and guns.

The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.

For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands.

Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.

Next Thursday, there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

The “Over 60s Choir” will be disbanded for the summer with the thanks of the entire church.

Weight Watchers will meet at 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

The Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM.  Please use the back door.

We want to pray for our unloved saved ones.

Brother Lamar has gone on to be the Lord.

On a church postcard: I have received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I would like a personal visit.

The church is glad to have with us today as our guest minister the Rev. Ralph Green, who has Mrs. Green with him. After the service we request that all remain in the sanctuary for the Hanging of the Greens.

Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.

A new loudspeaker system has been installed in the church. It was given by one of our members in honor of his wife.

Please welcome Pastor Don, a caring individual who loves hurting people.

It’s Drug Awareness Week: Get involved in drugs before your children do.

The Sunday night men’s Bible study will meet on Saturday at the park, unless it rains. In that case they will meet at their regular Tuesday evening time.

Illiterate? Write to the church office for help.

The class on prophecy has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.

(An unfortunate blooper during the pastor’s illness) God is good! Dr. Hargreaves is better!

A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

The church office will be closed until opening. It will remain closed after opening. It will reopen Monday.

Let us join David and Lisa in the celebration of their wedding and bring their happiness to a conclusion.

On Sunday a special collection will be taken to defray the expense of a new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet will please come forward to get a piece of paper.

There is a sign-up sheet for anyone wishing to be baptized on the table in the foyer.

Janet Smith has volunteered to strip and refinish the communion table in the sanctuary.

The concert held in the fellowship hall was a great success. Special thanks are due to the pastor’s daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which as usual fell upon her.

Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

If you are going to be hospitalized for an operation, contact the pastor. Special prayer also for those who are seriously sick by request.

Jean will be leading a weight-management series Wednesday nights. She’s used the program herself and has been growing like crazy!

(After the church maintenance man left a note with the church secretary that read “van battery dead,” these words were in the bulletin the next Sunday) Pray for the family of Van Battery who died this week.

When parking on the north side of the church, please remember to park on an angel.

Men’s prayer breakfast. No charge, but your damnation will be gratefully accepted.

(Thanks to Thom Rainer for his many contributions to this list)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

D-Day and Christmas Day

In his book The Faith, Chuck Colson has a chapter entitled "The Invasion." In it he describes the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. D-Day was the largest seaborne landing in history. More than 150,000 U.S. troops were committed to the initial invasion, employing 6,900 vessels, 4,100 landing craft, and 12,000 airplanes. Within two weeks the British deployed an additional 314,547 men, 54,000 vehicles, and 102,000 tons of supplies, while the Americans put ashore an additional 314,504 men, 41,000 vehicles, and 116,000 tons of supplies at Omaha. Ten thousand tons of bombs were dropped on German defenses, with the word given to the French resistance to sabotage key bridges, railway lines, telephone exchanges, and electricity substations. Despite the Allies' air superiority and hours of heavy bombardment against the beach defenses by the warships' guns, the Germans stayed intact as thousands of brave men in the landing craft motored toward shore.

Nothing stood between these troops and the German guns but the morning air. At Omaha, Gold, Sword, Juno, and Utah beaches, the troops' only chance was to run, swim, and crawl up the beach to the sea walls, where they could reassemble for assaults on enemy gun positions. In the first hours at Omaha, more than 2,400 died. Over the next few weeks, as the battle progressed inland, the U.S. would eventually lose 29,000 men and more than 100,000 wounded and missing, while the British gave up 11,000 of its finest, and Canada 5,000. And all this was just the initial set of invasions. The Battle of the Bulge and other potentially catastrophic reversals were still to come, but the invasion of Normandy was so massive and successful, that it allowed the Allies to turn every counterattack into another victory. Colson writes, "As if preordained, the outcome was clear; the evils of Hitler and fascism would be conquered."

Colson then goes on to compare the invasion of Normandy with the invasion of God on Christmas Day. He writes:

In one sense, the great invasions of history are analogous to the way in which God, in the great cosmic struggle between good and evil, chose to deal with Satan's rule over the earth—He invaded. But not with massive logistical support and huge armies; rather, in a way that confounded and perplexed the wisdom of humanity.

It was a quiet invasion. Few people understood what was happening. Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew that she was with child, but she also knew that she had never been with a man, not even Joseph, to whom she was engaged. She had learned of her pregnancy and what was to be a virgin birth when an angel told her that she was pregnant with the Son of God.

For many, including Joseph, the doctrine of the Virgin Birth is hard to accept. But the God who could speak the universe into being, who could create human life, could certainly choose to make Himself known by the power of the Holy Spirit through a virgin,

Most of the people in Palestine at the time of Jesus' birth were expecting a Messianic invasion like we saw at D-day—conquerors in armor bringing a sword to set the people free from oppression.

Jesus only added to the bewilderment of the people who knew Him when He announced: "The time has come …. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news" (Mark 1:15). This was the time the Jews had waited for, for so long? Liberation? And who was this ordinary Nazarene carpenter to say he was bringing in the Kingdom of God?

Dr. John A. Huffman, Jr., in the sermon The Gifts of Christmas: Salvation (preached on 12-2-07 at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, California); source: Chuck Colson, The Faith (Zondervan, 2008)

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Misconceptions of Manhood; The Meaning of Manhood; The Making of Biblical Men

40 minutes. 40 minutes. That’s all it took for the successful completion of the most important American manhunt to take place in our lifetimes – of course, I’m referring to the killing of Osama bin Laden which occurred on May 1, 2011, approximately 10 years after his authorization of the worst terrorist attack to take place on American soil.

40 minutes. That’s less time than it takes to commute from here to DC in rush hour

Mark Mitchell, Executive Pastor
Covenant Life Church
traffic on a rainy day. That’s less time than most of the TV shows we might watch now-a-days in a typical evening.

40 tension-filled minutes for the President and his staff as they watched this mission unfold from the White House Situation Room. 40 imperfect-but-well-executed minutes for the Navy Seals who carried out this mission in service of this country and those who died on 9/11.

How were they able to be so execute so critical a mission hundreds of miles from home in a foreign country in such a short a period of time? There are more factors than I understand or can possibly go into today but I’ll highlight just three.

The men involved were highly trained Navy Seals who were taught how to execute their missions with precision and discipline.

The men involved spent many months in diligent, repetitive preparation until they could walk through every step of this mission in their sleep
. The men involved knew exactly who they were looking for. They knew how to recognize Osama bin Laden.

This last point seems so obvious that it almost shouldn’t be mentioned. But it’s huge. They needed to make sure they got the right guy. They had to be able to recognize him.

Now, most of us will never engage in a mission that, from a human perspective, is as high-stakes as the killing of Osama bin Laden. But, brothers, I believe the call to biblical manhood does have some similarities. God has called each of us to a biblical mission that requires discipline and diligence. God is determined to make each of us into biblical men and that preparation will involve rigorous and even repetitive preparation. And finally, just like those Seals, we need to be able to recognize our target. In order to hit the target of true biblical manhood, we need to know how to recognize it.

I hope, by the grace of God, in some small way, I can help us with this task this morning.

And let me just say right now, thank you for being here. Thanks for getting up earlier than you prefer on a Saturday morning to hear from God’s word, fellowship with the brothers and to be sharpened as men. Whatever sacrifice was involved in you being here, I thank you for making it.

My outline for this talk is in three parts: The Misconceptions of Manhood; The Meaning of Manhood; The Making of Biblical Men

1.The Misconceptions of Manhood

Before we begin to define what true manhood is according to the Bible, let’s take few moments to explore what manhood is not. Listen to the following misconceptions and see if you’ve bought into any of their lies.

·        You’re a real man because you love to hike and hunt and kill things that are bigger and faster than you are.

·        You're a real man because you drink alcohol or smoke cigars (legally of course)

·        You're a real man because you play contact sports – like football or basketball or chess (just checking to see if you’re awake. And if any of you actually play contact chess, see me afterward. I want to know what that’s like!)

·        You’re a real man because you’re a Type A leader, you’ve got a charismatic personality, you’re executive material, and you play paintball with ex-Army Rangers on the weekends just for fun!

Some of you may have bought into lies the other way around. Here’s the flip-side:

·        You feel less than a man because you're prefer reading over wrestling

·        You feel less than a man because you're quiet or introverted

·        You feel less than a man because you have real fears – fear of speaking in front of others, fear of sharing the gospel, fear of standing out in a crowd, fear of heights or spiders or whatever

·        You feel less than a man because interacting with women or girls doesn’t come naturally to you. It may be just plain hard.

Probably at some point in our lives, every one of us has bought into one or more of these lies. I know I have. They’re all wrong. None of them have anything to do with what the bible describes as true manhood. All of these misconceptions miss the mark of what true manhood is according to God’s word.

And brothers, this should give us hope. Hope that by the grace of God and through the power of God’s Spirit, each one of us can be a true man according to God’s intention in Holy Scripture.

Listen. Whether you're short or tall, young or old, fat or skinny, athletic or artistic, introverted or extroverted, good with your hands or good with your brains, God has called you to be a godly man made after the image of Jesus Christ his Son. And, if you’re willing to embrace a vision of true manhood according to the Bible, and if you’re willing to yield yourself to God’s power by the work of God’s Spirit, a true Christ-like man is exactly what God will make you to be.

So let’s identify our misconceptions and then let’s reject them as a first step toward embracing what it means to be a true man. Point 2 is…

2.The Meaning of Manhood

My goal this morning is to do a couple of things.

1.     First, I want to define as faithfully as I can from Scripture what true manhood is.

2.     Second, I want to challenge you and inspire you to embrace this vision of manhood and surrender yourself to God’s plan to make you into a man after the image of Christ

There is far more to be said about biblical manhood than I can address this morning so I’m going to keep things simple by focusing only on what biblical manhood is in its essence, not all its expressions.

I believe John Piper in his booklet What’s the Difference has hit the nail on the head when he distills biblical manhood down to three specific things: leadership, provision and protection. I’ll say it this way.

The essence of biblical manhood involves leading, providing for, and protecting women according our differing relationships and God's plan is to increasingly build these things in us until each of us uniquely reflects the image of Christ.

I’m going to show you where this comes from in God’s word, primarily drawing from Genesis 2.

But before I go there, I want to make one important point from Gen 1 and it’s this: both men and women have been created in God’s image and therefore equal in personhood, dignity, and importance. This is clearly established in Genesis 1:27.

Genesis 1:27 (ESV)

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them”.

Three poetic lines expressing three distinct truths:

1.     The first line emphasizes divine initiative. “We came from God”

2.     The second line emphasizes the divine image. “We resemble God” (stamped)

3.     The third line emphasizes divinely created distinctions. “We are male and female”

Male and female have been created by God and equally reflect the image of God. This means equality of personhood, dignity, and importance. Men, we must be grounded in this truth before we consider differences and distinctions between men and women.

Now, let’s look at Gen 2 and begin with leadership. We’re going to see 10 different ways male leadership is implied from the Scriptures.


1.     Adam was formed first (Gen 2:7)
 Genesis 2:7 (ESV)

then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature”.

This is the truth the apostle Paul appeals to in 1 Tim 2:13 to establish male leadership in the church.

2.     Eve was formed from Adam and for Adam (Gen 2:18, 22)

Genesis 2:18, 22 (ESV)

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man”.

This is the truth the apostle Paul refers to in 1 Cor 11:8, 9 to establish the headship of husbands over wives.

3.     Adam exercises leadership by naming the animals and also his wife (Gen 2:20, 23; 3:20)

Genesis 2:20, 23 (ESV)

The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field 23 … she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Genesis 3:20 (ESV)

The man called his wife’s name Eve…

4.     The man (not the woman) leaves his parents to form a new household (Gen 2:24)

Genesis 2:24 (ESV)

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

5.     Adam is the one God calls to account after the Fall even though Eve sinned first (Gen 3:9)

6.     Adam's punishment is not only because he transgressed, but also because he abdicated his leadership role (“you have listened to the voice of your wife”) (Gen 3:17)

7.     God uses the term “man” to refer to the entire human race (Gen 5:2)

Genesis 5:2 (ESV)

Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.

8.     God imputed sin to all mankind through Adam, not Eve (Rom 5:12-21)

9.     Wives are called to submit to their own husbands (Eph 5:22-24)

10.       Men are called to exercise governing authority in the local church (1 Tim 2:11-12)


1.     The man is placed into the garden to “work” it (Gen 2:15)

Genesis 2:15 (ESV)

 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

2.     God introduced pain into the uniquely male and female domains of calling – the woman's experience of childbirth, and the man’s experience of work. Each of these areas are now painful and frustrating (Gen 3:16-17)


1.     Gen 2:15 – The man is placed into the garden to “keep” it (Gen 2:15, cf. Num 3:7-8, 18:7). These Scriptures indicate that “keeping” also carries the idea of guarding or protecting

The essence of biblical manhood involves leading, providing for, and protecting women according our differing relationships…

·        Leadership – This looks like loving initiative.

o   In love, take initiative toward the women around you.

o   Pay attention. Notice opportunities. Take initiative. Use your gifts, your

intellect, your strength to improve things around you.

o   Mobilize the gifts, abilities, and intellect of the women around you to improve things.

o   Husbands in particular are called in Ephesians 5 to love our wives as Christ loved the church.

o   Young men & singles: you can begin to embrace this as sons and brothers and friends.

o   We don’t have to always initiate everything, but we should feel responsibility for a general pattern of initiative wherever God has placed us.

·        Provision – This looks like diligent service.

o   Our Father in heaven established a pattern of work in Gen 1 and he calls us to follow his example. He provides for us as his children (Matt 6). Jesus provided for our greatest need – our salvation. Husbands should feel the responsibility to provide for his household.

o   Jesus said, “I am among you as one who serves (Luke 22:27)

o   Let’s work hard where the Lord has placed us. It is in keeping with biblical masculinity to embrace hard work, even when it’s frustrating.

o   There’s nothing wrong with wives sharing the load by contributing to the household. But husbands should feel the responsibility.

o   Singles, cultivate an ethic of hard work while you’re students and in whatever you do for your jobs.

·        Protection – This looks like willing sacrifice.

o   Be willing to put yourself at the disposal of others for their good.

o   Be willing to suffer for the safety of the women around you. Embrace what’s uncomfortable and hard. Protect your home or your domain from physical enemies and spiritual enemies.

o   Husbands, we are to love our wives as Christ loved the church and sacrificed himself for it. This is the pattern we’re called to follow.

Jesus is our role model. He is the perfect man. Listen to this quote:

“When you look to Christ you are beholding real strength, fortitude, character, determination, zeal, conviction, endurance and courage. But, like all things Christ, it’s counter-intuitive. It does not come out in bravado, but humility. True strength is found in restraint, and not dominance. Fortitude is seen in quiet suffering and not hardheadedness. Character is visible in consistency, and not status. Determination is evident in patience, and not headstrong belligerence. Real zeal is aimed toward God, and not found in self-determination. Real power is doing what you should, instead of what you’d rather…

If Jesus is what it means to be a man, then any biblical definition of manhood will of necessity have a cross in it… At the center of biblical masculinity is the cross of Christ and the sacrifice that comes with it.” – Byron Forrest Yawn, What Every Man Wishes His Father Had Told Him, pages 44-45.

The essence of biblical manhood involves leading, providing for, and protecting women according our differing relationships and God's plan is to increasingly build these things in us until each of us uniquely reflects the image of Christ.

3.The Making of Biblical Men

God is the one who makes us into men. We don’t get there by self-determination, pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, or “digging deep within ourselves” to strive to be better men. God as our loving Father takes it upon himself to use his own means to make us into the men he wants us to be.

We're all called to be men made according to the image of Christ but we're not all going to reflect this in exactly the same way. It’s going to look differently according to our unique personalities and God’s particular call on our lives. Consider this.

·        God has designed your strengths and weaknesses

·        God has determined your gifts and your limitations

·        God has ordained the unique details of your life circumstances - your ethnicity, your birthplace, your family, your personality, your station in life.

·        Even your unique sin patterns, which God knows full well, are not a deterrent to him. God will use the hammer and anvil of life circumstances to break us of our allegiances to sin in order to sanctify us and make us like his Son. And when he’s done, as we submit to him, who we are at the end of your lives will hardly resemble who we were at the beginning


·        Jacob (Gen 27-35)

o   By nature he was a deceiver, a manipulator, one who by his own scheming would seek to manipulate circumstances to his own advantage

o   God allowed Jacob the deceiver to be deceived by his uncle Laban and as Jacob was running away, God got a hold of him and wrestled with him and left him with a physical limp and a heart that was more yielded and dependent on God.

·        Joseph (Gen 37-50)

o   By nature he was gifted, but lacked tact and wisdom. He may have even been a bit arrogant, self-confident.

o   But God got a hold of him because God planned to use him. God used 13 years of hardship and mistreatment including betrayal, slavery, treachery, and imprisonment to forge him into the man God would use to save his people from famine.

·        Gideon (Judges 6-8)

o   By nature he was fearful, weak and insignificant. 

o   But God got a hold of him, and God's Spirit came upon him and made him into a mighty warrior, through whom he brought about a powerful deliverance for the people of Israel.

·        David

o   By nature, he was a shepherd boy, one who cared for and protected sheep. Godgave him a natural courage and the mentality of a fighter.

o   God raised him up and established him as the mightiest king of Israel. The shepherd of sheep became the shepherd of God's people chosen by God to fight God's battles and protect God's people. God forged him into a man after his own heart and made him Israel's valiant king.

·        Peter

o   By nature he was impulsive, brash, quick to speak. He had natural God-given leadership gifts but he was proud and he was prone to let his words get ahead of his brain.

o   But God got a hold of him. God humbled him. Many times. Peter didn't learn easily. He had a tendency to slip back into old sinful patterns. But Jesus made him a rock on which his church was built. And the man who was so full of selfish pride ultimately gave his life in humble submission to the will of his Savior, as tradition would say crucified upside down.

·        Myself

o   By nature, I was skinny, shy, timid, kid who lacked confidence in many areas. I was academically gifted but socially awkward (despite the fact that I was strikingly handsome). I was fearful, easily hurt by the criticisms of others, and who had little to no desire for leadership positions. 

o   But God got a hold of me. He used my academic gifts to make me an engineer. He repeatedly put me in difficult situations often dealing with difficult people where I was regularly uncomfortable. He made me confront my fears of failure and my craving for people's approval and affirmation. He took this fearful, timid, kid and made him a pastor. 

·        You

o   What is your unique story? How has God been working in your life to make you into the man he's called you to be?

o   What difficult life circumstances is he using to bring about the image of Christ in you?

o   The same God who was at work in Jacob, David, Joseph, Gideon, Peter and Paul is the same God who is at work in you.

o   God is the maker of men. Are you embracing his good work? Or are you kicking against it? God has remedies even for that. We can’t outsmart him so we may as well submit to him.

God is calling all of us to be men made in the image and likeness of Christ


If you've not trusted in Christ, then you’re still in rebellion against him. Jesus calls you today to turn from living for yourself, trust in Christ for salvation, and then begin living in submission to him.

For those of you who have trusted in Christ, how is God calling you to grow in leadership, provision, and protection?

·        The home needs men made after the image of Christ

o   Husbands – loving and laying down their lives…

o   Fathers – loving and leading their kids…

o   Brothers, Sons, Friends…

·        The church needs men made after the image of Christ

o   Initiative to solve problems

o   Using your gifts and strength to make the church stronger

·        The community needs men made after the image of Christ

o   Initiative in the workplace, neighborhood

o   We’re called to make disciples of Christ. 

Finally, our ministry to men here is called Men’s Community. And that’s for good reason. You won't become the man God is calling you to be in isolation. This will only happen in community. As Dave has shared the vision for the Men’s Gathering, it’s about “doing together what we can’t do alone.” As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Through Men’s Community I want to see younger men and older men connected together and mutually strengthening and sharpening each other.

·        Young men, find someone older to connect yourself to and learn from. Humble yourself. Be honest. I don't know about marriage. I don't know about relationships. I need a vision for my life. I want to be more decisive. I want to know how to lead a family.

·        Older men, find a younger person to invest in. Start with your family. Invest in your wife and children - they are your first priority. Make yourself available to a younger man. Share your experiences. Share your failures. Share your successes. Tell them how God worked in your life to bring you to where you are. You've not arrived. God has much more he wants to do in you. But you have something to give.

The essence of biblical manhood involves leading, providing for, and protecting women according our differing relationships and God's plan is to increasingly build these things in us until each of us uniquely reflects the image of Christ.

Let’s pray.

Mark Mitchell is the Executive Pastor at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg MD. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from University of Florida (1988) and Georgia Tech (’90). Mark joined Covenant Life's pastoral team in April 1996.