During this Q&A session, Kirk Giles answered some tough questions from men. Here are the questions that were asked along with the timestamps where you’ll find Kirk’s answers within the 1-hour Live event.
You can read the full transcript below.
How Do I Find Hope When I Am Losing Hope?
“I got into a bad car accident during my teens that left me in a wheelchair ever since. I had some meaningful relationships, but none of them ended in marriage. Now I’m 36 and I’m losing hope that God will ever even offer me a partner to spend my life with. They say that God does everything for a reason, but I’m losing faith.” 10:38
Why Should I Stay In a Sexless Marriage?
“I have no sexual desire for my wife, and I don’t want to have sexual relations with her anymore. Why does God make me stay in a marriage like this?” 16:55
Should I Stay Sexually Moral?
“I want to be sexually moral. I am single, and I have turned to pornography in the past, but I’m happy to say that I’m walking in victory and have been for some time. In my effort to stay sexually moral, I have ceased all masturbation because I felt that was conjuring up pornographic images in my mind, even though my eyes are closed, and I’m not watching pornography. It is very difficult, as the temptation is very strong some days. Am I on the right track, or should I cut myself some slack and give in every once in a while?” 24:53
What Do I Do When I’m Struggling With My Sexuality?
“Hi there. I have a serious question to ask, and I am asking this question not because I think you’re knowledgeable about the topic, but because I’m curious to see what you have to say. I am a gay male, aged 35, who watches porn several times a week, even before and after going to church. I have strong homosexual tendencies and frequently masturbate. If I go to a Promise Keepers conference sometimes, I notice how gorgeous or handsome some guys are, wish the hot or handsome guy I’m looking at is gay, and my imagination runs wild. How much of a man do you think I can be? Even though I’m aged 35, at times I feel like I am a young guy with a 20–year–old mindset, who happens to be in a 35–year–old body. What valuable input might you have for all of this?” 28:55
How Can I Be An Influence to Younger Men?
“Are there words of encouragement you would give to be of love and encouragement to those around us, and of being a light to the future generation?” 36:30
What Do I Do When I Disagree with My Spouse?
“How do I balance my wife’s request versus what I think would be best? So, for example, purchases, big and small, behaviours and attitudes towards others, friends and family. Fortunately, we were pretty much on the same page with raising the kids. The answer is probably that I talk with her about it, but this can be very difficult. The other answer is to more with God about it, and I know I have to do more of that.” 40:25
How Can a Shy, Single Young Adult Man Find Friends?
“How can a shy young single man, in his mid to late 20’s get connected with other men? Where can he find godly friends? It seems like I’m the only Christian guy in my friend group, and I’m just starting in my journey as well. Most men, if not all, in my men’s ministry are much older, all married and have kids. I don’t feel connected with them, and many times, I feel like an outsider.” 43:48
How Do I Deal With Strong Opinions on Hot-Button Issues?
“Now that churches are reopening, a lot of guys are so passionately political, one way or the other: “If I have to wear a mask, then I’m not going.” Or, “If not everyone’s wearing masks, then I’m not going.” There’s so much political stuff going on right now and very strong, differing opinions on issues like COVID-19, wearing masks, racial injustice, and so much more. What advice do you have for Christian guys out there, interacting with one another? How do guys deal with some of these strong, political thoughts these days?” 48:57
How Can I Release My Anger and Accept When Bad Things Happen?
“I had a stroke at 48 years old, which was three years ago, and I was doing all the right things prior. I had lost 35 pounds prior to the stroke, and I’m still angry at God for allowing this to happen. Outwardly all seems fine. I’m back at my director level job. I’m driving, playing ice–hockey, but everything is different. It has really impacted my relationship with my wife and son. How can I release my anger and finally accept that God has allowed this to happen? 58:48
Jamie:Good evening, guys, and welcome to the All About Being A Man, Q&A event brought to you by Impactus | Promise Keepers Canada. Impactus is a new name to stand side–by–side with Promise Keepers Canada, in equipping men for a life of purpose and godly impact. You can check out the brand new website for men at impactus.org.
My name is Jamie Strickland, and I serve as Discipleship Pastor at West Highland Abbotts Church in Hamilton, Ontario, and I’m going to be your host for this evening. Here’s how tonight’s going to work. This is an open Q&A night with questions on any issues facing men. We’re going to do our best to answer these questions from a biblical perspective. Some questions have already been submitted. But if you do have any other questions, please put them in the Facebook or YouTube comment section. Or you can go to impactus.org and find this event there, where you can submit a question online.
We will get through as many questions as we can during our time together tonight.
At this point, I’m going to welcome Kirk Giles to join us. Kirk is the President of Impactus | Promise Keepers Canada. He’s been married for over 26 years and has four children and two daughters-in-law. He’s the author of The Seasons of Fatherhood, which has sold over 15,000 copies here in Canada. Kirk has been on the frontlines, ministering to men for over 24 years. Just this week it was announced that Kirk will soon be starting a new chapter in ministry, as Co–Lead Pastor of Forward Church, in the Waterloo Region area of Canada.
So, Kirk, you didn’t think that there were enough transitions and changes during COVID. You have decided that you’d change your ministry role as well.
Kirk:You know, become a pastor during a pandemic… it seemed like a good idea.
Jamie:Oh yeah. No, it’s easy working in the church at this time!
Well good. I want to jump right in here, because we’ve got some questions that I think will be really important for guys to hear from. We’re going to start with this question here. Someone was asking if there was a Promise Keepers conference and was just wondering if there’s going to be one online here in the future?
Kirk:So, this is probably the easiest question I’m going to get all night. The answer is, yes. We are not going to be able to do our normal conferences that we would do in the fall and the winter months across the country, because of COVID restrictions across Canada. So, we’ve cancelled our entire normal fall conference schedule.
But in March of 2021, we are going to be hosting a simulcast event on the first weekend in March, and it’s going to be available anywhere that people can access a simulcast. We’re going to make it available for free to churches across the country, to be able to use for smaller groups of guys in their churches to get together. It’s going to be about a three-and-a-half-hour event, and we’re really looking forward to being able to bring this to the men all across not just Canada but North America and maybe even guys all around the world.
Jamie:That’s really cool. It’s good to be able to have some things still to go on during this time, where we can’t gather together in the same way that we’re used to.
So, that was the softball to get you warmed up, before we get to some of the other questions that we’ve had submitted. And, again, I’d encourage you guys, if you’re watching, to just submit the questions, and we’ll hopefully to get to all the questions that you guys have.
So, the next question I have says this:
“I got into a bad car accident during my teens that left me in a wheelchair ever since. I had some meaningful relationships, but none of them ended in marriage. Now I’m 36, and I’m losing hope that God will ever even offer me a partner to spend my life with. They say that God does everything for a reason, but I’m losing faith.”
Kirk:So, can we go back to the softball question?
This a really intense question on a lot of different levels.
So, let me just preface my answer to this question and all the questions tonight by just saying again, my hope is to try and point all of us, as men, to what the Bible says. I’m going to be coming at this from a Christian perspective, so if you’re watching tonight, and you’re not a Christian, I’m just going to be really upfront with you and say, look, I’m coming at this from a Christian perspective and our goal here, as a ministry, is we want to help men understand what it means to be a godly man, to be faithful and following Jesus. So that’s kind of foundation to everything we’re going to talk about tonight.
I just want to say to the guy who asked this question: losing hope is a really powerful sentence and a difficult place to be. There are a lot of men all across North America right now, who are living in a place where they’ve lost hope. It can be for all kinds of different reasons. It could be COVID–related. It could be economic–related. It could be just so many things. I’ve read so many stories even about the rise of mental health issues in men.
So, let me just say that, to this guy who’s asking this question, this space of losing hope is not something to take lightly. It’s a real space that you’re in. And, really, the biggest place where it seems like you’re challenged with is losing hope in God and what God might do for you or can do for you.
And when we start to lose hope – there’s really two questions that are at the root of that, when we make a statement like that. There are two questions about God. The two questions are: “God, where are you in all of this?” And a second question, very closely related to it, is: “If you really love me, why is this happening to me?”
I think that’s at the root of this guy’s question, and I just want to say that you’re not the first man to ask these kinds of questions. As a matter of fact, the Bible actually has lots of men who asked these kinds of questions. I’m going to read to you from Psalm 13 – just the first verse of Psalm 13 alone. Listen to this: “How long, oh Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” Like, that’s David, who was called a man after God’s own heart, who was in this pit and just feels like God is going to forget him forever; and so, these are real feelings, real emotions that we experience as humans.
And – so here would be my best advice for you. I’m not going to try and tell you God’s going to make everything better. That God’s going to suddenly miraculously give you a partner to spend the rest of your life with, because I don’t know what God has planned. I don’t know you – I don’t know what God’s got planned for your life. But I think there’s something in the Bible that can help you with this, and it’s the idea of learning prayers of lament.
There’s a book I want to recommend to you. It’s called: Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy. It’s a fairly new book, and it will take you through a whole journey of learning how to lament the things that you’ve lost; how to process those things before God, in prayer; and then how to invite God to change your perspective, in the midst of this sense of losing hope.
And so I really want to encourage you – we don’t have enough time to dive into prayers of lament tonight – but I want to encourage you that God’s word has answers for you and can help you process these feelings that you have. And so, check out this book: Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy, and think about places where the scriptures will help you lament what you have experienced so far in your life.
Jamie:Yeah. Yeah, that’s really good. I actually read that book as well, last fall. Because it was on, like one of the best books of 2019 list, and I was really encouraged by it as well. I had often, in my Christian growth, thought of the Psalms as kind of something that I wasn’t that interested in because I couldn’t really relate a lot of the time. I just wanted to read Paul and the epistles.
But then, you know, as I’ve grown older, it’s like you go through these seasons where you’re not sure what God is doing – and having those prayers in the Bible, allowing, you know, those words to speak for us, to God, are really powerful prayers. So, I would just echo that as well – that it’s really encouraged me as well.
Kirk:I read the book too. I had lots of really difficult moments over the last year/year-and-a-half and, at times, some real sense of sadness. And this book really helped me process a lot of those things by taking me to the scriptures and helping me learn, better, how to lament.
Jamie:Right. Let’s go on to our next question here, and this question says: “I have no sexual desire for my wife, and I don’t want to have sexual relations with her anymore. Why does God make me stay in a marriage like this?”
Kirk:Man, can we go back to the last question?
Kirk:It keeps getting more and more difficult!
OK, I think it was probably about a year ago now, I wrote a couple of articles talking about sexless marriages. And I discovered that sexless marriages are more common than we might think they are. There was a study done by Newsweek that says about 15 to 20% of couples are in a sexless marriage. And Google searches – about 21,000 times a month, people search “sexless marriage” in Google. So, it is not an uncommon thing.
So, whoever asked this question, I just want to say to you, like you’re not alone on this issue. Lots of other people are going through this kind of experience, and it can be a really difficult and very painful place to be, where you feel this way about your spouse and about your marriage. And even feeling like you’re stuck, and what do I do? Like, why is God making me stay in this kind of environment?
We also have to acknowledge, I think, the reality that sex really is a powerful driving force for most men. Let’s not try and sugar-coat that. It’s just reality. So, this is a very important part of a lot of men’s lives, when we start to talk about our sexual relationship with our spouse.
But I will say that when I listen to the question, it also seems like you might be really angry with God about your reality. Like, God’s forcing you to stay in this marriage. And, again, you wouldn’t be the first person to be angry with God about something. So, I want to just maybe start on that front and just say God has all kinds of mercy for you. It just may not be the way that you want him to show it.
One of the biggest things I had to wrestle through in my own life is: if God did everything I wanted him to do for me, then is he God – or am I God? And I came to the conclusion, obviously, that if God did everything that I wanted him to do, then that really puts me in the place of God, and he’s my servant. And so, you know, you want to understand that God doesn’t owe any of us anything. Everything that we do receive from God is a blessing and a gift of mercy to us.
Now, when it comes to this particular issue, I want to say that there’s two ways that we can look at our lives. We can look at our lives as that we’re in the centre of life, and everything should revolve around how to make my life better, easier, happier. Or – God is in the centre of life, and everything exists to honor and glorify God.
And this includes our marriages. This includes the nature of our relationship with our spouse. God’s version of the story, what the Bible teaches us, is that all things were made by God and for God. Romans 12:1-2 also teaches us that our bodies are to be used to worship God; that all of life is meant to be an act of worship to God, including how we use our bodies.
So, we have to understand that Jesus came to give us eternal life, but not necessarily an easy life, right now. So, when it comes to your marriage, what does that mean? How do we take those principles and apply it to our marriage? If you’re married – all of us are married to an imperfect person, and that imperfect person is also married to an imperfect person.
We all have a sense of brokenness. We all have a sense of where we sin in our marriage relationships with each other. That’s part of our reality. And so, our role, as a husband, is not so much to try and force change on our wife. Our role as a husband is to deal with our responsibility of what it means to be a godly husband; which means, according to the book of Ephesians, learning to love your wife like Jesus loves his bride, even if she doesn’t respond the way that you want her to.
So, you may want her to change so that you will then sexually desire her. You may want certain things to be different in your marriage. But the reality is your calling is to love your wife like Jesus loves his bride. And I know that sounds difficult when you have these kinds of feelings that you’re expressing in this question, but that’s where our focus needs to be, as a follower of Jesus. Your reward might be healing in your marriage. But it might be something that comes way down the road, even maybe after this life, where maybe God doesn’t heal everything in your marriage today. But you get a greater reward of just being a faithful man.
God will bless you. God will honor faithfulness in your life as a man. So, stay focused on your responsibility as a husband, to love your wife like Jesus loves his bride. And just see how God changes your own heart and changes her heart in the process.
Jamie:That’s a good reminder – that we need to just be concerned about what God’s called us to do first. And when we think about our Christian marriage being the picture of Christ and his church, it’s a very high calling for us, as men, to sacrificially love our wives in the same way that Jesus sacrificially gave his life for his church.
And so, if we start there, that’s going to give us more than enough to do. And hopefully, that would help God change our own hearts and our own perspective on our wives as well.
Kirk:When I was fairly new in my marriage, I remember one day, just really complaining about certain things about my wife, and I remember somebody, a Christian guy, looked at me, and he said: “Kirk, you can start complaining about your wife as soon as you’ve learned to love her perfectly the way Jesus loves his bride.” Once you’ve got that nailed, then you can start to complain. But, really, honestly, you’ve got a long way to go to learn how to love her that way.
Jamie:Right. Alright, we’ve got a few more questions, kind of, like in this area, so get your seatbelts on.
So, my next question says this:
“I want to be sexually moral. I am single, and I have turned to pornography in the past, but I’m happy to say that I’m walking in victory and have been for some time. In my effort to stay sexually moral, I have ceased all masturbation because I felt that was conjuring up pornographic images in my mind, even though my eyes are closed, and I’m not watching pornography. It is very difficult, as temptation is very strong some days. Am I on the right track, or should I cut myself some slack and give in every once in a while?”
Kirk:Great question. First, all these questions that are being asked are great questions because they’re very vulnerable, and guys are being really honest about what’s going on in their life. And so, I just want to applaud guys for the courage of asking these questions, because I know as guys, we don’t tend to put ourselves out there like this. So, I really want to applaud these guys for this kind of honesty in their questions.
So, for the guy who asked this question, I just want to say you are definitely on the right track. Keep going down the path that you’re going down. Keep pursuing. But I want to say, don’t try and make this about just about being moral. Because if your whole focus is – I’ve got to be more moral. I’ve got to be more moral. – your focus is on a set of duties to accomplish in your life. And duties will never bring you life. Duties, ultimately, are going to feel like an overwhelming burden.
What I want to encourage you to think about instead is, think of these decisions as an act of love for Jesus. That what you’re doing is you’re choosing Jesus over pornography. You’re choosing Jesus over masturbation. You’re choosing Jesus over whatever other sexual temptations you’re facing right now. And that’s why Jesus tells us that: “The greatest command is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.” And then he says: “If you love me, you keep my commands.” Jesus links love and obedience together; our obedience is a picture of our love for him.
So, instead of trying to say, “Am I being a good moral person?” I want to encourage you to, first of all, receive this reality of how much Jesus loves you. Even while you were a sinner, Christ died for you, the Bible teaches us. He loves you, and he wants you to love him back. And that’s what these decisions are ultimately about. They’re about, “Who do I love more?” or “What do I love more?”
Keep going down the path you’re going down. You’re on the right track. Focus and keep growing in the sense of loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
Jamie:One of the greatest things about having freedom from this type of bondage is the fact that it just opens up that relationship with God. That even in my own past, when I had struggled with pornography before, I just felt like it was a real hindrance to me connecting with God. But since that point and since having freedom from that, I wouldn’t trade that for the world, the freedom that I have to just have that relationship with God. So, I agree that he’s on the right track, and just keep going, and live to love and serve the Lord.
Well, Kirk, I would like to say that we’re going to easier questions now, but I cannot say that. So here we go—the next question for us here.
“Hi there. I have a serious question to ask, and I am asking this question, not because I think you’re knowledgeable about the topic, but because I’m curious to see what you have to say. I am a gay male, aged 35, who watches porn several times a week, even before and after going to church. I have strong homosexual tendencies and frequently masturbate. If I go to a Promise Keepers conference, sometimes I notice how gorgeous or handsome some guys are, wish the hot or handsome guy I’m looking at is gay, and my imagination runs wild. How much of a man do you think I can be? Even though I’m aged 35, at times, I feel like I am a young guy with a 20–year–old mindset, who happens to be in a 35–year–old body. What valuable input might you have for all of this?
“Also, will your responses to this question be made available so I can re–watch them at a later time? And if it is, it might be helpful for me, in case there’s anything I forget after time passes.”
Kirk:Alright, so I’m going to answer the last part of the question first.
So, the short answer is yes, this video’s going to stay on the Impactus | Promise Keepers Canada Facebook page, as well as on our YouTube channel, so you can find it in those places for sure. Possibly also on our website at impactus.org, to be able to be watched at any time that you want to go back and watch it.
OK, this one’s a loaded question. And, I just want to say thank you for the honest question that you’re asking. Again, I don’t know you. I think there might be a chance you feel that you’re alone with asking a question like this because there’s certainly not a large percentage of people who would claim to go to church and also have homosexual or same-sex orientation or same-sex attraction. So, the fact that you’re asking this question, there’s a chance that might feel like you’re alone in this.
But here’s what I want to say to you. Even though you might feel like you’re alone, you’re really not alone. Because the question you’re asking is not primarily about being a homosexual, I don’t think. I think it has more to do with how we as men surrender our sexuality to God. I know you’ve identified this as having strong homosexual tendencies, to use the word that’s in the question, but I don’t think this is about homosexuality alone. I really think that this is actually an issue of being a man, whether you’re homosexual or whether you’re heterosexual.
Your story – the story of the guy asking this question – I think it can be applied to the heterosexual guy who watches porn several times a week. To the heterosexual guy who frequently masturbates and notices, all the time, how gorgeous women are, who goes to church and gets distracted by a woman who’s singing on the worship team, or in the hallways at church. So, I want to say that as a foundation in answering this question.
I also want to be really, again, upfront with where I’m coming from, in terms of the Bible and what the scriptures teach. I believe – we believe, as a ministry – that the Bible teaches that the only form of sexuality that honors God is in the context of a loving covenant marriage relationship between a man and a woman. And so, everything else outside of that relationship is outside of God’s will for the expression of our sexuality.
And so, having said those things, here’s a couple of things I want you to consider for your own life, in answer to your question. I want to say this as lovingly and graciously as I can because I think this is for you, but it’s also for a lot of men who can see this video. I want you to maybe consider that potentially you’re a sex addict. I don’t know you, so I’m not judging you and saying that you are a sex addict. But I want you to at least consider the potential. If anybody came to me and said, “Kirk, I’m watching porn several times a week and I can’t stop. I watch porn before I go to church, on a regular basis, or after going to church, on a regular basis. I am masturbating all the time.” – those are all signs of people who are sex addicts. And there is every chance that you’re very much addicted to the hormonal high that you get from doing these activities.
The Bible teaches us that God doesn’t want us to be addicted to anything, including sex, because ultimately all of it leaves us empty. Whether it’s alcohol or sex or drugs or whatever – we’re trying to fill holes in our life with things that never ultimately satisfy us. And so, just a real practical step, just to maybe have a conversation with someone about – Am I actually a sex addict?
I want to encourage you to reach out to a friend of mine who lives in Colorado. He specializes in sexual addictions. His name is Dr. Doug Weiss. And, actually, you can go to his website. He’s got a couple of websites. One is called sexaddicts.com. The other one is drdougweiss.com. Both of those places you can get in touch with him. He’s a Christian counsellor. He has had his own battles with pornography addictions and has been free for a couple decades, now, from that. But he can really help you to determine whether or not this is an addiction, and he can help you process some of that.
The second thing, practically, I want to encourage you to do is this: consider reading a book written by a guy named Sam Allberry. Sam Allberry is a Christian man who has same-sex attraction. He’s been very open with that. But he has chosen to live a celibate lifestyle. And he wrote a book that I read recently, called: Why Does God Care Who I Sleep With? I want to encourage you to check that book out and just get a little bit of a deeper picture of what the Bible has to say about these kinds of issues.
I’m hoping that those two resources might be able to help you out. Doug Weiss, as well as Sam Allberry’s book, Why Does God Care Who I Sleep With?
Jamie:Thanks for those resources. And make sure you get the spelling right on that website, or else you could be going down…
Kirk:You could be going somewhere you don’t want to go.
Jamie: Right. So, make sure we got that one correctly, maybe in the chat or back on the screen.
We have a few more questions that have been previously submitted, but someone just has posted something. I just want to read this for you Kirk.
“Are there words of encouragement you would give to be conduits of love and encouragement to those around us, and of being a light to the future generation?”
Kirk:Oh, man, that’s a big question.
So, here’s what I would just say to you: You have more influence than you think you have. As a man, you have way more influence than you think. Most men seriously underestimate the influence that God has given to them, especially when it comes to the next generation of men. If you do not have someone in a younger generation than you that you are talking to on a semi–regular basis, you need to get at least one guy like that in your life. Because the whole story of the Bible is all about us passing on faith from one generation to the next. It’s all about – I mean, from the beginning, where God says to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply,” he’s talking about future generations that are going to come after Adam and Eve, all the way through to Paul talking about being a spiritual father to Timothy.
There’s just this overarching theme that’s woven into the scriptures about us taking what God has taught us in our lives and passing it on to the next generation. You do not have to be an expert teacher to do that. You do not have to be someone who has taken four years of seminary to do that. You just need to have a pulse and have had a walk with God. That’s what you need. You need to be alive, and you need to know that you’ve had some type of experience of God shaping your life. And so I would encourage you, like whether it’s your own son or a grandson, or whether it’s younger guys in your church, put yourself in spaces and places that will stretch you out of your comfort zone, to invest in the lives of younger men. They respect you more than you believe they respect you.
Just because they talk a different language – and a lot of them do talk a different language than you – and just because they dress differently and listen to different music and have all kinds of differences than you, don’t focus on the differences. We focus way too much on our differences instead of what we have in common. And what we have in common, as Christian men, is: we have Jesus in common, and we have a desire to be a godly man in common. Those are the things that we have in common.
Every guy wants to know his life counts for something. Never met a guy who said, “I hope I screw up my life.” So, you know, just trust the journey God’s been taking you on and use that to invest in the lives of other people.
Jamie:Right. We don’t have to be perfect. Even Paul says: “Follow me as I follow Christ.” And that’s the invitation we can give to a younger guy, is that follow me even as I follow Christ and the goals that we’re following in Christ together.
Glad to hear a question on discipleship!
Kirk:Makes the Discipleship Pastor happy!
Jamie:Yeah, exactly, very good.
Alright, I’m going to bounce back to one of the ones that were submitted in advance, and it says this:
“How do I balance my wife’s request versus what I think would be best? So, for example, purchases, big and small, behaviours and attitudes towards others, friends and family. Fortunately, we were pretty much on the same page with raising the kids. The answer is probably that I talk with her about it, but this can be very difficult. The other answer is to more with God about it, and I know I have to do more of that.”
Kirk:Well, I appreciate the honesty of the guy. I mean, at least he knows that he’s got to do more talking to God and talking to his wife about things. And I also appreciate the honesty that it can be difficult because, let’s be honest, if we know we’re going to raise an issue in our marriage that’s going to create conflict in the conversation, it’s way easier to not bring up the conflict.
The problem is, the fact that you’re asking the question, that means it’s already bringing conflict inside your heart. And if it’s bringing conflict inside your heart, then you are at risk, at least, of getting into a path of bitterness in your heart, towards your spouse. And that’s going to create some challenges.
So, here’s a couple of thoughts for this guy:
Always remember this truth: Both you and your wife are made in the image of God. Just because you see things differently from each other doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s wrong and you’re right. And the same goes for the opposite direction. Just because you see things differently than she does, doesn’t automatically make you wrong either. There’s every chance that both of you are coming at a situation, just based on your personalities and the way that God has wired you to reflect his image in different situations. So, don’t necessarily start on the premise of: I’m right, she’s wrong. There’s every chance that both of you are actually right, you’re just coming at it from a different angle.
Kirk:The other thing is, yes, you do need to talk to her about things. In particular, you need to talk at it from a perspective of: Do we both agree that we want our marriage to honor God? Do we both agree that we want the decisions in our marriage to honor God?
Have an agreement between each other that when there is a concern or when there’s conflict on an issue, bring it back to the same question. Filter it through the lens of: Which decision will bring the most honor to God? If you filter it through that lens, as opposed to – I think you should do this, and, I don’t think we should do that, that’s a lot of I’s and me and my opinion. As opposed to: What’s God’s opinion on the right decision for us in our marriage?
So those are really a couple things that I would say to this guy.
Jamie:I like this next question here too. I think it’s a really important one, and something that I’ve observed. So, this question says this:
“How can a shy, young, single man, in his mid-to-late 20’s get connected with other men? Where can he find godly friends? It seems like I’m the only Christian guy in my friend group, and I’m just starting in my journey as well. Most men, if not all, at my men’s ministry are much older, all married and have kids. I don’t feel connected with them, and many times I feel like an outsider.”
Kirk:You’re the Discipleship Pastor – you answer this!
OK, so this is a very difficult question – a very important question, and very difficult one. Because when I hear you ask this question, my hunch is that this particular guy is really an introvert. I think he said he’s shy. And so, it’s hard to put yourself out there when you’re an introvert, and you’re shy.
But having friends is so important, biblically. Having Christian friends is so important, biblically. And so, he’s on the right track – I think he’s already stretching himself a bit, as a shy introvert, trying to say – I know I need to get some Christian friends in my life. So, good on him for at least beginning to stretch himself in the right direction.
Some other thoughts around this. I want to add to what I just said a couple minutes ago about older guys investing in younger guys. I want to say to this guy, don’t dismiss the idea of connecting with older guys. I know it seems like they’re at a different stage of life than you, and maybe don’t have the same kind of interests that you have. But there is huge value in having older men as friends. You may not talk to them about everything, but just hang out with them. Ask them questions about – hey, when you’ve dealt with a challenge like this, how did you deal with it? Put yourself in that kind of space and ask guys for their opinion on what they’ve experienced in their life. You can start to build some friendships that way, with some older guys. So, don’t dismiss the idea of being able to connect with some of those guys.
Another thought: I don’t know where you live, so I don’t know if some of these things are possible scenarios for you, based on where you live, but you may need to find a church where there are some other people who are going through the same stage of life that you are in, so that you can have some peer-level relationships, for some accountability and some help processing things. So, you might need to think about that possibility. I don’t ever try to encourage guys to leave their church, but you might need to think about putting yourself in a space like that.
But here’s the final thought I want to say to this gentleman: Pray for Christian friends. Trust God enough to know that God knows that you need Christian friends. So, ask God to bring those people into your life.
And maybe those people are actually going to be the people who are in your current circle of friends, who are not Christians. Maybe God has you in that circle of friends for you to reach out to them with the good news of Jesus and to invite those people to follow Jesus. And maybe your non–Christian friends today, tomorrow are going to become your Christian friends, as God uses you to invest in their life. So, don’t necessarily walk away from your non–Christian friends. God’s put you in relationship with them for a purpose and a reason, and he can use you in some really great ways to influence their life.
Jamie:I think this question also proposes a challenge to some older men, like you said, to invest in younger guys. But also for men’s ministries all across Canada: Is your ministry something that a 20–year–old Christian guy is going to want to come out to? If all your ministry is just an 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning breakfast, you’re probably not going to get a lot of 20–year–olds who are looking for Christian community. Waking up at 08:00 a.m. on a Saturday – it’s not going to get them out.
Kirk:Not high on the agenda.
Jamie:No. So, it’s just a question we have to ask ourselves in men’s ministries. Is what we’re doing at our church something that young guys would even want to come out? Or is it just something that it appeals to us who are a little bit older?
So – I wanted to ask a question here, just with everything that’s going on in the world. There’s so much political stuff going on right now, as you know Kirk, whether it’s in relation to Covid–19 and masks and all this stuff, and people within the church: guys have differing opinions, and often times very strong opinions. There’s all the discussion in recent days as well about racial injustice, and people have different strong opinions.
I’m just wondering: “What advice do you have for Christian guys out there, interacting with one another, on how to keep straight: What is a central issue? What’s secondary?
And then, even maybe attached to that is: “Now that churches are re-opening, a lot of guys are so passionately political, one way or the other. If I have to wear a mask, then I’m not going. Or, If not everyone’s wearing masks, then I’m not going. How would you counsel guys dealing with some of these strong political thoughts these days?”
Kirk:Yeah, so that’s a loaded question. I’m going to kind of do this in reverse order. I’m going to talk about the going back to church bit, and then I’ll talk about some of the other issues happening.
In terms of the going back to church piece, if you want to be a godly man, if you’re a father and a husband, the Bible’s very clear that God has called you to be the spiritual leader of your family. So my question is, when the book of Hebrews tells us do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, when Ephesians says that as a dad you are responsible to make sure that your children are being taught in the ways of God, when you have those realities in the scriptures, help me to understand how avoiding church is being obedient to being the spiritual leader of your family?
I say that in love. I really do. Because I know that we’re living in really challenging days, and I know that some families might have legitimate health concerns and health issues that make them vulnerable in a time of Covid. So, I say all of that, in the sense of respect for those realities.
But the majority of us can go to Costco and have no problem going to Costco, but then we wonder whether or not we should go to church. And I was there. I mean, honestly, after a few months of watching church online on Sunday mornings, I got comfortable. I’m sitting there, going – this is amazing! I don’t have to get dressed up. I don’t have to leave my house. I can just stay home and kind of roll out of bed and sit in front of the television and turn on the church service.
But here’s what I found. Whenever we’ve turned on the television in our family, generally speaking, all of our family is on their phones. So, if we’re watching Netflix or whatever, or a baseball game, we’re all sitting there texting or scrolling through social media. The whole family does that.
Well, church services start, on our television or a computer, and I was watching one Sunday and everybody, including me, had my phone out and scrolling through social media, searching whatever. And I was like – oh my, I’m not even engaged in what’s on the screen right now. So, I’m at church, but I’m not at church, if you know what I mean.
And so, as spiritual leaders of your families, unless health is a factor in your family, I don’t know what biblical ground you have to stand on to stay home.
I just don’t know. And so, if you’re going to honor God and care for the spiritual health of your family, you need to get your family connected into the life of your church again. You’ve got to get out of the bad habits that you’ve built around this. So that’s the church issue.
And I know somebody’s going to say – yeah, he’s the new pastor talking. Honestly, I felt this way long before that whole thing happened. This is what God’s word tells us, and we’ve got to be obedient and faithful to what he calls us to be.
So, on all the social issues, whether it’s, you know, masks or no masks, whether it’s the Black Lives Matter conversation – any of those realities, here’s what I would say: We live in a fallen, broken, hurting world, and if you can’t see the hurt in our world right now, you may never see the hurt. There’s so much brokenness in the world today. That’s our reality, living in a sin-filled world. To get caught up on opinions about all of those things, at the expense of the good news of Jesus and the gospel of Jesus, is something that we need to be careful not to fall into.
Now hear me clearly: On the issue of racism – racism is real. And as Christians, faithful Christians, speaking out for justice for people who have experienced injustice, whether it’s because of racial issues or other issues – that is honoring to God, for us as a Christian to speak out on those things. And we should reflect God in those ways.
I was reading a passage, a scripture this morning in my devotions, from the book of Jeremiah. And in it, just after they had finished rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, there’s a portion in there where there’s a national prayer that happens. It’s interesting reading it because the people of Israel confessed to God the sins of previous generations in this national prayer.
One of the things I’ve heard a lot of people say is, “Yes, there’s racism in the world,” and, “Yes, there’s racism in Canada. But I’m not a racist, so stop talking to me about it. It’s not my problem.”
But the people of Israel, they looked at the things that they had committed in previous generations, and they said, “No, no, this is still something we need to bring before God and confess the sins of previous generations before God.”
As a church, as Christians, I think this is part of our call to stand with the hurting, the broken, and the people who have experienced injustice. To actually be willing to confess – may not be your personal sin – but be willing to confess the sins of our country, whether it’s today or whether it’s historically, around how we have done damage to people’s lives. I know it’s a hot button issue, and all kinds of people might disagree with me on this, but that’s part of being a biblical Christian – to stand up against injustice in the world today. And so, I think that we need to fall into that. But don’t let your disagreements, politically, tear apart what God has created for unity – and that is: who we are in Christ, who we are as the church of Jesus Christ. The devil is working overtime right now to create dissension amongst Christians, and we have to choose the way of love and unity over that kind of dissension that is going to bring harm to the name of Jesus.
Jamie:That’s really, really important. That’s really good. The gospel broke down the dissension between Jews and Gentiles, and if it has the power to do that, then it has the power to bring any groups of people together. And if we treasure the gospel above all, then we’ll be reaching out to any who are different or who are like us.
Jamie: So, we’ve got time for one more question here. This one was submitted earlier, and this is what the question says:
“I had a stroke at 48 years old, which was three years ago, and I was doing all the right things prior. I had lost 35 pounds prior to the stroke, and I’m still angry at God for allowing this to happen. Outwardly all seems fine. I’m back at my director-level job. I’m driving, playing ice–hockey, but everything is different. It has really impacted my relationship with my wife and son. How can I release my anger and finally accept that God has allowed this to happen? Thanks in advance.”
Kirk:Yeah, thank you for the question. That’s a great question. Strokes are really difficult. Most guys I know who’ve had a stroke end up with some real challenges related to depression, related to anger. It just – it does something to us. And so, again, you’re not alone in this kind of reality.
The guy who wrote the question talked a bit about how it’s impacted his family relationships. I think this is one of the real issues in this question because the attitude we carry as men will seep into the life of our family. It’ll spill over into the life of our family. So, part of the fruit of our anger is breaking down relationships within our family because it just spills over. The anger we might feel towards God or towards our circumstance spills over when we’re at home, and then our family become victims of it, and it just ends up creating all kinds of problems, relationally.
So, a couple of things, just to answer this question. I want to come back to an earlier answer and talk about the need for lament in these kinds of situations. Lament is going to help this man to mourn what’s happened in his past, but also help him to refocus himself for the future. So, lament.
I also want to encourage him to train himself to think differently. And what I mean by that is train yourself to move from anger to gratitude. There are a lot of studies that exist that tell us that we can actually rewire our brains simply by becoming more grateful people. And here’s what the scriptures say. Philippians 4:6-9: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.” Paul writes – talk to God about everything but do it with thanksgiving. Make sure you’re giving thanks in your prayers.
And when you do that, here’s what he says in verse 7: “The peace of God which surpasses all understanding is going to guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” And then in verse 8 and 9 he says: “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, commendable, if there’s anything excellent, anything worthy of praise, think about those things. What you’ve learned and received and heard and seen, you may practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” So, there’s just this call, in the scriptures, to turn our minds towards gratitude, instead of focusing on what we’re angry about.
So, here’s what this looked like in my own life. I’ve been in this spot. Not with a stroke but dealing with anger. So, I get the anger piece that this guy’s talking about. Every day, now, for the last couple of years at least, before I go to bed at night, I sit down with my wife, and we both identify three things from our day that we’re thankful for.
It’s been amazing how just slowly, gradually doing that, day in, day out, how your outlook on life starts to change. How your brain starts to be rewired from focusing on the negative and what makes you angry to focusing on the positive and what God has blessed you with. So that would be something else.
You might need some professional Christian counselling to help you process some of this stuff, so I want to encourage you with that. There’s a book that I really want to encourage you to read. Best book on anger I’ve ever read in my life. It’s called: Good and Angry by David Powlison. Check it out – fantastic book. I think it’ll help you to process some of the anger that you have.
Jamie:Great, good. Alright, well, I think that’s about it.
One question that I have for you, personally, before we close, is: Kirk, I’m a big Leafs fan. Are they ever going to win the cup?
Jamie:OK, any books for them to read?
Kirk:You can go through some lamenting prayers.
Jamie:Yeah, there we go – back to the Psalms and Lamentations!
Well, this has been good. I just want to thank all the guys that are out there for attending. It’s been a great evening together. Kirk, I just wanted to put it back to you, if you have any final thoughts for us before we close.
Kirk:Yeah, thanks, Jamie.
First of all, I want to say thank you, Jamie, for hosting us tonight. I really appreciate it. Guys, if you are in the Hamilton area at all and you’re looking for a church to connect with, I really want to encourage you to check out West Highland, which is where Jamie is at. He’s one of the pastors on staff there. Check outwesthighland.org, and you can find out all the information about their services and other ministries that they have there. Great church. I highly encourage you to be a part of West Highland if you’re looking for a home church to be part of.
Second thing that I want to say is, I’m going to hang out on the Facebook page for Impactus | Promise Keepers Canada for the next few minutes. So, we’re going to shut down the video in just a moment, but I’ll be there, just being able to interact with anybody, in terms of texting questions, if you have anything else. I’d be happy to spend a few minutes there, interacting with some of you guys over the next while.
Again, Jamie, thank you so much for helping to facilitate tonight. Deeply appreciate it. And to all the guys who watched, I appreciate you guys. Hope you have a great night. God bless.