Category: Courage

Just Get in the Way

Just Get in the Way

Giffords shooting site/AP photo

I once heard Christian author Larry Crabb say that men need to face confusion with courage and creativity. We may have no clue what to do in certain situations, but that doesn’t excuse passivity on our part. What men need to do is walk into the situation courageously and bring to bear all the creativity we can muster in order to bring clarity or resolution to the confusion. I like that.

It’s that same principle I have in mind when I tell men that what the world needs us to do is “Get in the way”. It’s what the first man failed to do. When Eve encountered deception in the Garden, when the Enemy approached her with half truths that sounded deliciously attractive, Adam “who was with her” (Gen 3:6), remained passively silent. In doing so he established a pattern that many men facing confusion play out today.

What Eve could have used was a partner who reminded her of truth; a partner who reminded her of the consequences of bad choices. What she could have used was a man who loved her so much that, when he saw her in danger, he thought nothing of himself and stepped between her and the threat. She needed him to get in the way.

I’m reminded of this by the tragic shooting that took place in Tucson, AZ shortly after the new year dawned. The men, women and children who were threatened by a sick man, needed someone to forget about their own fear and confusion and step into danger. I LOVE that someone did! And I LOVE that one was “a middle-aged, elderly woman.”

  • Army Col. (Ret.) Bill Badger, 74, hit in the head with bullet fragments was one of the first to grab the shooter.
  • Patricia Maisch, 61, walked directly in front of the shooter and grabbed his extra magazine so he couldn’t fire any more. When asked afterward how she could have done so, she replied, “You just do it.” Nike needs to grab her.
  • Joe Zamudio ran out of Walgreen’s when he heard the shots and launched himself onto the shooter holding him to the ground until police arrived.
  • Dr. Steve Rayle, helped hold the man down, then went about tending to the injured.
  • Daniel Hernandez, 20, Rep. Gifford’s intern, held her in his lap, pressing his hand on top of her wound to stop the bleeding, quite possibly saving her life.

These are genuine heroes. Only one of them was trained to face gunfire (and he never had before). None of them knew what to do once bullets started flying. They were stunned, shocked, confused and afraid; but they took action on behalf of others. They just got in the way. In doing so they saved many lives.

Men, our world needs more men who willingly get in the way. Not because women and children are always helpless, but because the threats they face, and we men as well, sadly come so often from other men. They are rarely as dramatic as the events in Tucson, but they can be just as confusing: a son who encounters a demeaning coach; a daughter challenged by a teacher espousing values you disagree with; a wife facing depletion from the many demands of her day; another man floundering in loneliness and shame due to the loss of his job or marriage.

Ever since the first woman was let down by the man at her side, we see too many examples of men remaining passive when confused. Sometimes that man has been the man in the mirror. The names above remind us that men and women who take action for the sake of others are real life heroes. I urge us to follow their example in the comparatively minor, but deeply important skirmishes of our lives.

Just get in the way.

Prince of Peace? Not Yet.

This time of year we are reminded of the prophetic words in Isaiah that foretold the coming of the Child who will be called the Prince of Peace. But as I have been recently reading in the gospel of Mark I’ve been struck by the verbs and statements that describe the story of Jesus’ impact […]

Just Show Up

Just Show Up

For over 35 years I’ve regularly been in speaking situations–whether one-on-one, small group or large gatherings. Almost every time I have hopes that the occasion will be life-changing, memorable, transformational.

There’s probably nothing wrong with desiring a positive result. But I really have no right to conclude I know what the best result is. And I have learned with certainty that I sure can’t control that outcome anyway!

At home, at work, at church and in the community, we often find that others are not as convinced or influenced by our plans as we are. It turns out other people have their own convictions and impressions. And God has his own plan, too.

Once on retreat with a small group of men, I decided to read a passage from a book that reveals profound insights into the deeper meaning of the Lord’s Prayer. After reading from the book and showing a video clip on a similar theme to the group, I had a plan for what lesson I wanted us to gain from the teaching.

What I didn’t anticipate was my reaction at the end of the video: I wept.

I was profoundly struck by a new perspective on a familiar truth. I was overcome by the message it spoke to me, not to the others, and I sobbed in the arms of one of my friends. So much for manly pursuits.

Men, here’s something I’ve learned over time. When we have a deep conversation with our wives, an awkward session with our daughters or sons, find ourselves in over our heads in a demanding situation, or stand in front of others who are waiting to hear what we have to say, the most important thing we can do is, Just show up.

Virtually every time I speak I follow a fairly simple process:

  • Prepare sincerely with guidance from the Spirit
  • Speak passionately from the heart
  • Let go of the controls
  • Allow God to decide what he plans to do with it

Our open-handed, heart-felt presence is the most important thing we bring. Just show up; let God decide what he wants to do with you.


One of the best set of marching orders I know of for men is I Corinthians 16:13: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage and be strong.” Every one of those phrases is a good call to be manly. They resonate with the male heart: be vigilant, be faithful, […]

Getting Out of the Headlights

Getting Out of the Headlights

Not long ago I got together with a group of men who were good acquaintances, but hadn’t seen each other in a while. We wanted to catch up with each other’s personal lives, but I find that when you ask men, “Tell us what’s going on in your life,” they either respond with a deer-in-the-headlight expression or launch into a superficial account of work, sports and physical maladies. At which point it’s tough to say, “You know,we really want you to go deeper than that.”

I have found a good way to ease men into a genuine overview of life, is to pay attention to the pattern of how Jesus implied we are made by God. In Mark 12:30 Jesus tells us to love God “with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind and all of your strength.” In one sentence he summarized the make-up of all people:

  • Heart- Emotions
  • Soul- Spirit
  • Mind- Intellect
  • Strength- Physical

That group of men went around the table and each to took a couple of minutes on each of those 4 areas and filled us in on how he was doing: Emotionally–What is he feeling these days? What is going on his most important relationships? Spiritually— How are he and God doing? What is God up to in his life? Intellectually— What is he learning or reading? How is he growing? Physically— How is his health and how is he caring for it? Then pray for each man after he shares.

It’s a surprisingly simple yet effective way to help men move from blank stare to honest connection.