The MANual to Downshift and Refocus

As we enter a new year, it’s time to refocus on what’s important. It’s time to change the pace of life by “downshifting”, per se, in order to focus on becoming a more godly man. This year, I’m asking you to join me on a journey of intentionally pursuing God and the good life He offers.

In Reflections on Year 2 of God Buddies, I explained how the first 12 months of writing this blog to refine my thoughts about why men need deeper, more authentic friendship. Of course, last year was unexpectedly different for most due to the coronavirus pandemic. This led to last year’s posts about adjusting to change, the emotional and physical health of men, and how God Buddies support each other during a really tough year.  

So this year is about focusing on our journey as men.

Like fixing a car or putting something together, it will require using instructions from a manual.

OK, we all know that many men resist using the manual. But this manual is different. It is one you will want to read.

Our “MANual” for the Year

As a resource for our journey together to our growth as men this year, I’m going to use the MANual: The NIV (New International Version) Bible for Men from Zondervan Publishing.

The MANual Bible is specifically designed to speak to Christian men honestly and straightforwardly. It addresses our role as Christians in the face of a culture that actively works against God’s will and God’s way. The MANual also helps motivate men to redeem their God-given passions, drives, and purposes so they can live out their faith. 

I like this resource since it has 5 features “written by men to men who are fellow travelers on this adventure called life.” These features include:

  1. Myths – articles about a common, accepted myth from the world, followed by the first-person story of a man who struggled with the lie and how it affected his life. Each concludes with principles from God’s Word that debunk the myth. 
  2. Men of The Bible – profiles of selected men of the Bible with must-know, interesting facts, written in a creative, edgy style. Each profile highlights how God used this man despite his failings. 
  3. “Downshift” Notes – penetrating questions to pause and ponder. Where am I headed? What’s true? Why do I do what I do? What do I need to do differently? 
  4. Knowing God – notes that will help us know Him better and live as men created in God’s image. 
  5. At Issue – some no-nonsense, hard-hitting brutally honest truths on issues that all men battle such as sex, money, jealousy, and pride from each section of the Bible. 

A Challenge for Me and for You

This journey to pursue God’s good life is to help me as much as it will help you become more Christ-like.  Personally, I’ve found it hard to stick with a consistent Bible reading plan or devotional. 

But this year, I’m committed!

The MANual Bible has over 1,500 pages of content. My hope is to follow the flow of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, while using a mixture of the myths, examples of men, the downshifts, and the ways we can know God better in order to tackle the issues men face. 

The challenge for me is to distill each chapter down to keep it digestible for you.

The challenge to you is to provide me and comment on each post to keep the dialogue going. 

This is a big undertaking for both of us so please read along each week and provide me some feedback. If you haven’t done so already, click on SUBSCRIBE to automatically get an email in your inbox each week with the latest post. 

Why Are We Doing This?

Let’s be honest – many men know a bit about “making a living” but when it comes to “making a life”, we have many more questions than answers. 

We aren’t sure how to connect with our wife and kids. We work hard and for long hours, but come away unfulfilled. We sense we’re put on earth for a bigger purpose than our job or a hobby. We acquire lots of stuff and enjoy myriad experiences.

Our souls are restless and unsatisfied.

Something in us resists opening up to other men about our real struggles.

We have many acquaintances but few deep friendships. We find ourselves further down whatever road we happened to be on. The years are passing quickly. We keep our fingers crossed hoping, perhaps even praying, that we’re not screwing things up. 

We need to journey together as men and learn together how to reach greater heights. If we aren’t going to read the manual, at least we can learn from each other!

No Man Succeeds by Accident

Patrick Morley writes in his book, The Christian Man, “no man wakes up trying to fail on purpose.” His friend, Jamie is also quoted as saying, “No man succeeds by accident”.

I believe that these quotes are very telling about how we must work on the things that help us grow. We need to be purposeful in our pursuit of becoming more godly men. 

Morley also suggests it is possible for us to “passionately love God, protect and provide for our families, find satisfying work, and courageously lead a balanced life with the help of a few brothers while experiencing meaning, peace, and joy.”

Sounds similar to the goals for God Buddies, doesn’t it?!

Lets Grow Together

Stick with me this year as I work through the MANual to help refine my own personal spiritual growth. It may take time to get into a good flow or format for the posts for this series of posts. I hope to make the posts concise while still comprehensive. There is no set end-date for this journey. through the MANual. But I hope you find it beneficial.

I also trust you will participate as well throughout the journey. The success of our journey together will depend on your engagement and ongoing dialogue as well. 

So begin your preparation for this journey. We start next week on the adventure toward becoming more like Christ.


2 Responses

  1. Great plan, Rich. I’ve been thinking a lot about my intentions for this year as well. I just joined The Dad Edge Alliance mastermind, and so far it seems like a great resource as well as great accountability. I’ve been using The Upper Room for my morning devotional, but have felt like I needed a bit more. I’ve decided to also read through the NT, a bit each day. It’s been a good addition to my morning devotion. Look forward to keeping up with your journey.

    1. Thanks, Jeff. Everyone needs a plan and it becomes even more important this year. Looking forward to your continued feedback along the way.

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