Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Review of "Wild at Heart"

Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secrets of a Man's Heart was written by John Eldredge in 2001. I have had some reservations about reading this book for reasons, that were unfounded, which I will not mention. But I will begin this review by encouraging you to pick up a copy and give it a serious reading. This book will, most likely, open your eyes to a whole new world for you as a man in the Kingdom of God. I had no idea how it would speak to and resonate within my heart and soul. (I also encourage wives and fiances to read this along with their men. I believe it will help you understand the man you love and who God intends him to be.)

Eldredge's premise is basic and simple; God created you, man, for a "battle to fight, a beauty to rescue and an adventure to live." It seems simple enough, but before entering his thoughts on these three elements of the God intended life, he spends several chapters discussing what keeps us from living this "life of adventure," this God honoring life as men.

In his introduction he had my attention when he wrote that we don't need another book for men. He said, "We need something else. We need permission." My mind began to ponder that statement. Are we at a place in this world, am I at a place in my own life where I need permission to be a man, to be a man after God's own heart? Eldredge says the answer to that question is yes, an emphatic and overwhelming yes. But why?

The answer to that question seems to be that society in general and even the church today want men who are "tamed and controllable." Men need to be trained, sophisticated, and feminine. That is what the world seemingly wants from us men, but what our hearts long for is to be William Wallace of the famed movie "Braveheart." We want to be Maximus of "Gladiator." We want to fight the battles of "Saving Private Ryan." We were created by God to be warriors, to be lions, and the word wants us to be pussy cats.

What does this really mean? It means, to Eldredge, that men have, for whatever reason, lost the passion of their lives. And the scary part is that men don't know why! Why do we long for adventure and battles? Why do we long for a "beauty to rescue"? Why? Eldredge says because that is the way God made us. And we live the lives we live because we fail to live the life God intended.

There was one chapter in particular that spoke to my heart, the chapter titled "The Wound." In it Eldredge deals with the circumstances in our lives which help to hinder us from becoming who and what God intends: "the wound." This wound can come from many places, but the most dangerous wounds received by boys and men are the wounds they receive at home. He takes this idea and moves into a chapter which offers help and hope for those coming behind. He calls this chapter "The Battle for a Man's Heart."

The content of the book builds and builds, like the waves of the ocean, like the flames of the fire. They captivate your mind and grasp your heart, and you know that there is more to this life.

Read it for yourself. Let me know your thoughts. I know that I will read it again for the encouragement within to be a man of God, but also because I know there are things that I missed that I need to help me understand more of being this man.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Shack

I just finished reading The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. I was good, but, to me, not as good as Eugene Peterson said in the recommendation section. I do not think, as he stated, "This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress did for his." I mean I thought it was OK, but not a generation changer.

As most of you know Melissa and I are expecting our second little girl at any time now. I mean I'm listing for her to yell to me "It's time." After things settle down somewhat, I plan on writing a short review of Wild at Heart by John Eldredge and The Shack so check back for updates on the new baby and to see if I've been able to write those reviews.

Serving Him,
Pastor Mike

Friday, January 23, 2009

It Seems to Have Begun

I want to begin by saying that God has called us to pray, regularly, for our President and leaders.

With that says, the liberal agenda seemingly has begun with the executive orders already signed by newly inaugurated President Obama. It began with, in my opinion, the neglect of our national security with the order to close the detention center at Gitmo. And now he has continued his promise to engage and press the issues surrounding abortion and the homosexual agenda with the executive orders he signed today reversing the policies of our Presidents Reagan, Bush and Bush. Only Bill Clinton has done so in the past 20 years. So now it seems that our government will begin funding abortions in foreign countries.

We must pray! We must pray for God's forgiveness and intervention in these matters. We know from Scripture that homosexuality is an abomination in His sight. We also know that God values life, from the moment of conception, as the most precious gift He gives, outside of eternal life. We must stand up against these horrors, and we must do so publicly. And we must pray!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


As I read Proverbs 21 today, a verse jumped out at me. Verse 2 says, "All the ways of a man seem right to him, but the LORD evaluates the motives" (HCSB).

My initial impression or thougtht is...we as human beings always judge, first, on the outcome or result of the actions we take. God, however, first looks at the reason behind the actions we take.

Is there more to it than that? I do not know at this point, hence the title of this post: "Pondering." Any thoughts?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wild at Heart

I just finished reading this book by John Eldridge. I hate to say it, but I refused to read it for several years now because of the comments of a professor at SEBTS whom I have the utmost respect for. I am glad however that in God's timing I have completed it. It spoke to my heart at my point of greatest need, a very difficult time in ministry. God is at work, and so is our enemy. (I hate that he can take on "flesh and blood.")

I would encourage any believer, male or female, to read this book, especially those who are married or about to be married. I plan on writing a review of this book in the next few days or so, depending on when Melissa goes into labor. So stick around!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

John 15:1-11

I joined a group on FaceBook the other day, SBCToday. It is a group of people who want to discuss "important" things going on in SBC life rather than some of the trivial or mean spirited things being discussed on some blogs. The creator of the group asked for ideas to be discussed so I gave him one. It has to do with discussing our "new" position in Christ. He liked the idea and asked me to write the discussion starter. The following is what I wrote. I can't take credit for the ideas I presented, the credit for that belongs to Bro. Herb Hodges, one of my mentors and friends. I did just preach a two message series entitled "What's New for a Christian" based on a study Bro. Herb wrote from John 15:1-11. I took his ideas, made them my own, and wrote from my heart. I hope you enjoy.

“Our Identity in Christ”
Michael Madaris

I have been apart of the SBC all my life, and one thing I have noticed is that there is, seemingly, a great emphasis placed on “position” within the convention. Men of all ages scramble for “position” within the political arena of the SBC. I have noticed this even more so in the last few years of ministry. “Young” ministers are demanding their place at “the table” of the SBC.

I was at a meeting yesterday, and a former pastor in Texas was leading the discussion. During our time together he gave us two questions to ponder; one of them being, “Who am I?” He said that answering this question is one of the most important things we, as Christians and ministers, have to answer. I believe he is right.

Is our identity found in what church we pastor? Is our identity found in what position we serve our great convention? I do not believe this is where we truly find our identity although many seem to think so. I believe we find our identity in a person and a relationship with that person.

One of the keywords of the Bible and of the Christian life is the word “new.” The Bible speaks of a new heart, a new spirit, a new creature, a new covenant, a new birth, a new man, a new life, a new Jerusalem, and many other wonderful new things. The Bible paints beautiful pictures of these new things to help the reader understand what God has for us. One of those beautiful pictures is found in John 15:1-11. In the passage the reader finds Jesus sharing with his disciples the dynamics of the relationship they are in together, and in clarifying the importance he uses the illustration of the relationship between a branch and a vine.

I will not discuss here the four “new” things Jesus presents to the believer in the text, but I do want to highlight the first “new” thing. It is the “new” position the Christ follower find himself in. Six times in the first seven verses, Jesus uses the phrase, “in Me,” to describe the new position of the Christian. Herb Hodges says, “Jesus uses the word ‘in’ about thirty times in chapters 14 and 15, and it reaches its pinnacle of use when he uses the preposition with the personal pronoun ‘Me.’” They are two small words, but when combined they become the resting place of the souls of men.

The phrase “in Me” is found throughout the New Testament. Over and over again Scripture tells us of our “new” position, in fact the Apostle Paul uses this phrase 164 times in his epistles. God is trying to get a point across. The believer is to find himself in his “new” position.

Every person on earth is seen by God in one of two positions according to I Corinthians 15:22. The only two possible positions a person can be found are in Adam or in Christ. And no person can be in both positions. It is an either or proposition, and both carry extreme consequences. Herb Hodges states, “To be ‘in Adam’ means that you fell into sin when Adam fell into sin, you became lost when Adam became lost, and came under the judgment of God when Adam did. It is a matter of position.” Scripture goes on to allow us to examine what is entailed in the “new” position of being “in Christ” (Rom. 8:1; II Cor. 5:17).

The world has a standard of success. It is, seemingly, found in the clothes one wears, in the house one lives in, in the car one drives, in the place one vacations, in the salary one is paid, and so many other things. There are some within our convention who believe that to be successful you must lead a large congregation, to be respected you must serve as a trustee of some board, and the list goes on. But are these things the measure by which godly success is determined? Are these the things that are held in high esteem by our “Commander-in-Chief,” by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? I believe the answer is an overwhelming no from the throne of grace and from the pages of Scripture. Faithfulness and obedience, relationship, service and humility are the elements of success in the kingdom of God.

How does one come to be successful according to the standard of Christ? There are two significant answers in my opinion: 1) answer the question “Who am I in Christ?” and 2) obey the command of Christ in John 15:4 which says “Abide in Me…”

There is so much talk today about bringing reconciliation to the SBC, but I do not believe it will happen as long as those who make up the SBC try to “find themselves” in any other place than in Christ.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


As I am reading through Proverbs each month during 2009, I am finding much to reflect upon or ponder. One verse God has drawn my attention to is Proverbs 12:16(HCSB), "A fool's displeasure is known at once, but whoever ignores an insult is sensible."

I've never done much reading in the Holman Christian Standard, but I'm liking it so far. What do you think about this verse, and how can you and I apply it to our lives?

I'm also reflecting on a verse I read today. Proverbs 14:1 says, "Every wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands." I believe this verse is speaking to wife/mom about the influence she has in the home. She has the ability to give life and the ability to take it away. It's in her hands. But I think the same can be said of husband/dad. I am thinking of this not only as it bares on Morgan and Melissa, but also on the precious little girl entering our home sometime in the next few weeks. Melissa and I have the power and ability to build a strong home for our family, or we have the ability to tear it apart with our own bare hands. How foolish that would be!

May we all build STRONG homes for our families. Any thoughts?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Please read...

Please go to my friend John McLamb's blog and read his post from Thursday. As I read it a few minutes ago I was challenged and know you will be to. There is a link to his blog below: If this doesn't get you there, there is a link on the right side of my page.

Thanks John for exposing and expressing your heart and ministry.

I forgot to mention...

I can't believe I forgot to come on here and mention it. "It?" you ask. "What did you forget to mention?"

The Florida GATORS won the National Championship. They beat Oklahoma. I wouldn't lie; it was to close a game until the fourth quarter. But the GATORS never quit, they never gave up, and they came through in the end.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Proverbs 7

I am currently reading Proverbs from the Apologetics Study Bible. The translation of this edition is the Holman Christian Standard Bible. The first 5 verses of this chapter direct the reader, the one pursuing wisdom, to treasure the Word of God. It encourages the reader to reflect on it and "regularly putting it into practice..." The study note on these 5 verses then goes on to say that doing this "helps a person internalize wisdom and build godly character. What we think about regularly affects what we do, and what we do regularly produces habits, and ultimately determines our character." WOW!

Think about that last sentence. Break it down into individual parts: 1) what we think about REGULARLY affects what we do, 2) what we do REGULARLY produces habits, and 3) habits ultimately determine our character. All I can say is that is powerful.

My prayer is: "Lord may I think about you, may I do only what you would do, and may I become like you."

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Back at the beginning of December I asked you to pray for the Webb family. I received a phone call from Jason this evening. He told that his mom and dad are home from Houston. The chemo wasn't working and there was no need for them to stay. Bro. Dean is in the hospital right now, he is very weak and needs our continued prayer support. Please remember them and lift them up often before the throne of grace. Thank you.

Pastor Mike