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E is for embrace

Dear Brothers,

Our goal as a fellowship of Christian men is to “Bring each man into the marvelous love of God.”

We have described what our end goal looks like with the acrostic M.A.R.V.E.L. (see below for description) and we have shaped our ministry culture with the life changing power of E.A.C.H.

Men who have encountered God’s love personally in our ministry have found these realities active in our fellowship, so this is real stuff, not just theory. Let’s consider how this culture helps us reach the goals God has put in our hearts for this ministry.

  • E-mbrace      
  • A-uthenticy   
  • C-hallenges   
  • H-ealing          

The “E” represents “Embrace.” This is both a physical embrace, a man-to-man hug as brothers with full arms surrounding the other man — and an emotional embrace, letting the brother know how much he means to you with your words and actions.

But ultimately this refers to the Embrace of our Father-God through His Son Jesus. When a man embraces God as Father, embraces his own identity as a son of the Father, embraces the Word of God and the Holy Spirit as his guide and power for life, and embraces his brothers in Christ as co-pilgrims on the path of life that he cannot live without, these will be key marks of him maturing in Christ.

So, one way we are building men is through a culture of Christ-centered love and acceptance exemplified with an embrace. But what would be the outward fruit of a man who has experienced the marvelous love of God?

The central expression of this inward change will be that this man is learning how to love others well. Love is the key mark of a disciple of Jesus. Think about that — the depth and the expression of our love towards others is actually one of the biggest signs that we are truly His disciples! Jesus said it would be a sign to “all” (John 13:35).

Biblical knowledge is one key thing for a maturing disciple, but Jesus never said, “By this the world will know you are my disciples, if you have strong biblical knowledge. Nor did Jesus say the key mark was faithful church or ministry involvement. Do you know why? Because people, especially people in the world, cannot see these things easily, and they often do not care about them. But they can easily see if we truly love one another or not.

Love can never be invisible — it must include actions. Even spending time together, praying for each other, helping each other in times of need, laughing together, and doing challenges together are ways we can put love into action. And so is helping people in our own Christian community or neighborhood with real love.

Jesus knew that for “all people” to recognize that we are His disciples they would have to see our love for one another in action.

In the next story is a perfect and touching example of the kind of embracing, accepting, celebrating that we are talking about. And men, this culture is not just for our fellowship events. It is something you can bring into every small group you are a part of, including our own families!

Action questions:

  • Who do you believe God wants you to show a big “embrace” ?                     
  • Who in your life would say about you, “He really has embraced me” ?

~ Coach Hoover

PS. A Marvel Man is one who is intentionally growing in these qualities:

  • Maturing in Christ
  • Accepts responsibility
  • Rejects passivity
  • Victorious over sin
  • Exercises regularly
  • Leads and loves courageously

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