There's a lot of misinformation floating in our world today and men and women and how they should interact. In fact, many people can't even agree on what a man or woman is-- much less determine how we should live.
Then there's this...
One night at dinner I told my teenage daughters, “The best thing for a woman— like each of you— is a strong man. Don’t look for a weak one."
I continued, "And, the best thing for a strong man is a strong woman like you...
"You were made for each other, to help each other fulfill your purpose together at an even higher level, accomplishing together what neither one of you could do alone. That’s God’s design.”
In other words--
❤️ Women don't need to become less womanlike to fulfill their purpose
❤️ Nor do men need to become less manly to empower women and-- at the same time-- fulfill their purpose
We each need to embrace and become the most fully alive version of who God designed us to be.
If any of the following resonates with you...
🔥You see all the gender-questions in the media and wonder if there COULD BE and SHOULD BE a simpler way… and if, maybe, we’re missing the point.
🔥You like the idea of Ozzie & Harriet… and a time of the “good old days,” yet realize there was a WHOLE LOT wrong back then… and, just maybe, we can do it better— without “throwing the baby out with the bath-water”
🔥You realize that what happens in the White House DOES affect what happens to the economy and other spheres… but that what happens in YOUR HOUSE matters even more.
🔥You’ve failed in this area (as I have) and would like a grace-based tool to get back on-track (or maybe on track for the first time).
🔥You realize that men should lead… but that, at the same time, women are extremely gifted, too… and the issue of leadership is FAR MORE complex than just who’s a woman and who’s a man…
🔥You just want to lead well and love the people in your inner circle as best you can!
... Stronger is for you!
We can't control what happens everywhere else, ut we can take "extreme ownership" of what happens in the four walls of our home, and commit to leading strong and loving even stronger!
Stronger wasn't planned, but it's part of our bigger purpose
That's Beth & me... in Bryson City, North Carolina, Fall 2022.
The pastor from a church in town called and was pretty specific as to what he wanted to me speak about:
👉 help people find their purpose
👉 show the men how to lead
I looked through my old notes and decided it was time to resurrect some ideas I’d kicked around for awhile-- and give them life.
"If I put this into a book, I'll have something I can leave the men!"
I already had A LOT written, so it wasn’t a “book from scratch thing” at all.
Rather, I needed to just pull the ideas together tighter, as well as connect the chapters in a more fluid way.
I know. The question…
“What qualifies you to write about this?”
In two words, here's what qualifies me-- and you-- failure and grace.
Think about it—
✅ if you want to learn about freedom from the rules and freedom over legalism, you read the words of Paul— the self-proclaimed Pharisee-above-Pharisees.
✅ if you want to learn about intimacy between a man and a woman, you read the words of Solomon— the man who infamously had 1,000 women in this palace.
✅ if you want to learn about forgiveness and restoration, you read the words of David— the man who committed sexual ABUSE, got the woman pregnant, then murdered her husband to cover it all…
Many times, I’ve found, the enemy attacks us in the areas where we’ll make some of the greatest impact— as if he sees the threat. And, in our failures, supernatural grace kicks in and does the unthinkable…
If you, too, have "missed it" in this area, take heart...
❤️ You don't fall FROM grace, you fall into it....
❤️ This may very well be THE area God wants to do His greatest work in YOU!
More About Stronger
2 Parts to the Book
In the first we build a Biblical foundation; in the second we get super-practical
5 Chapters per Part
We'll keep it balanced-- because we want to both know AND DO leadership & loving well
7 Review Questions
... at the end of each chapter, to help review important points and apply what you learn
Part 1 = Foundations for Masculinity + Spiritual Leadership
In the first chapter we define spiritual authority. And, we outline the three spheres of Biblical authority:
🏠 the home
⛪️ the church
🇺🇸 the state
For our purposes in this book we focus on the first and foremost domain of authority, the family. All other authority flows from here.
Strong families create strong and dynamic churches and governments— not the other way around.
The churches and the government will never be stronger than the families of any given culture. In fact, the problems we currently see with our politicians (on both sides on the political fence) attest to this.
Rather than appealing to the popular culture and the whims of the day to see how we should order our lives, Paul reminds us that we should go back to God’s original intention– before sin and folly entered the picture.
In other words, it is not sin that causes men to live and lead (as many people often claim— “look at those chauvinists!”). Rather, men lead in ungracious ways (or fail to lead at all) because of their own sin.
At the same time, others rebel because of their own sin.
The chaos we experience today finds its roots in the Fall-- when Adam and Eve sinned.
An old Puritan proverb suggests, “While Adam was away, Eve fell astray.” A quick look back at the text reveals the truth, though: Adam stood beside Eve as the Fall occurred.
“She took of its fruit and ate,” Genesis 3:4 reports, “and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”
Rather than standing between the woman and the dragon— as a medieval knight in his armor does in fairy tales— Adam effectively handed his sword (the Word of God) to the dragon and allowed him to bend it before using it against her.
For this reason, the New Testament places the blame of the Fall on men-- not women (see Romans 5:12).
As such, faithful men need to "clean up" the mess.
People still mess it up, though.
Too many times, we choose to live in shadow of the Fall-- not the light of the Cross. This creates two unhealthy patterns in male-female relationships.
In the first, a vicious cycle starts, consisting of repeated domination and defiance (or, ruling and rebellion).
Neither person walks in their God-given role, and neither is happy. They spend more time battling each other than they do building a life together— much less, finding and fulfilling their purpose as a couple.
In the second unhealthy pattern, the man simply relinquishes control to the woman. He lets go. He steps back, withdraws emotionally, and invests in other pursuits.
Sometimes, this manifests as long hours at the office (hours he chooses— not hours placed upon him during a busy season).
Other times, hobbies fill the void— including excessive video gaming, extended time hunting or playing golf, or other times spent away from the family.
Men weren't created to dominate or disengage, though. They were designed to lead strong + love stronger.
Thankfully, we have a pattern.
As image bearers of God, we look to God.
The Trinity is our model. The Trinity illuminates a better path.
When we look through the Scripture and see what Jesus did, what the Holy Spirit did, and what the Father did, we find our design. These roles provide the "job descriptions" for the man (and the wife).
- The man seeks to embody how Jesus lived.
- The woman seeks to embody the role of the Holy Spirit.
- The goodness of God the Father makes this all possible.
Common Questions about Stronger
Is this for men or for women?
Is this going to tell me to push down women and exert control?
What's on the audiobook and where do I access it?
What qualifies you to write a book on spiritual leadership?
Part 2 = Practical Strategy to Lead Strong + Love Stronger
First, we do things in the right order.
As our culture tends to lean into the government rather than the family, we’ll plow a counter-cultural idea here, noting the primacy of your house over the White House.
Second, we get the right posture.
True leadership "protects over" and "empowers under."
Throughout the New Testament we see that leaders aren't given their post by God to push others down or keep them in their place. Rather, their authority is given specifically for the purpose of building others up (see 2 Corinthians 10:8).
We walk through ways we can do this through the things we say and the things we do.
Third, we note that the pattern of true spiritual leadership is very different than secular leadership.
It's easy for spiritual leaders to get this backwards. In fact, on multiple occasions the disciples jockeyed for positions of authority-- immediately after Jesus told them He was headed to the Cross.
There's a difference between secular authority and sacred. One leads from above (and seeks to dominate), the other leads from below (and uplifts).
Everyone lives under authority.
It's easy to forget that.
No matter how "high" you go or how "low" you remain, everyone has someone-- some greater authority above them. It's important to note, though, that the authority above you is the source of your power and leadership.
We see in the example of the Roman centurion-- the one who acknowledged that Jesus had power precisely because He, too, lived under authority.
The best way to walk in your authority is to embrace the fact that you are under authority— that is the source of your power.
In addition, we talk about creating the right culture. We clear up the word "fear," a term we translate the same in English if though it has-- throughout the Bible-- two radically different uses.
We've got to get this one right!
Plants— and people— thrive in the correct climate.
Nothing grows in the wrong environment, though.
We’ll note the climate we want to foster in our homes, as well as outline three blessings which come as we do.
The blessings of creating the right culture-- of leading strong and loving stronger-- include:
⭐️ #1 | Work you like. Work isn't a result of the Fall; unproductive and unpurposeful work is. But, our work is redeemed.
⭐️ #2 | Wife you love. Psalm 128 likens the woman to a "fruitful vine," that is, to a plant that grows quickly and clings to stability.
⭐️ #3 | Wake you leave behind. We also read about legacy-- about children who find and fulfill their purpose. Though they require a front-end investment (with minimal "payoff," such that society neglects kids and sees them as a distraction, the downrange effects are massive.