16:13 Project | Act Like Men Blog

by Zack Shaffer, NCCS Faculty


"Be on the alert. Stand firm in the faith. Act like men. Be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." -1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Our final day focused on being lion-like lambs (or lamb-like lions, if you prefer): Christian men can be tough or tender, or even terrifying, depending on the need of the moment. The Christian man can be gentle and tender, weeping with those who weep or comforting the mourning or loving the weak; or he can be tough and decisive, rebuking when necessary, protecting when necessary, being on the alert: the same hand can alternately cup the cradle or squeeze the sword, pull in the pained, or push away the pernicious. 

We finished the movie Conagher to see an illustration of this idea and then (admittedly, get ready, this one is a bit of a stretch) we went to the Savoy Automobile Museum. The automobile can be a decent picture of the lamb-like lion idea: a car be both a muscle car (tough) and elegant in its design (tender). Again, I'll admit that one's a bit of stretcher, to paraphrase Huck Finn, but it was also fun to end the week out with a distinctly masculine activity, checking out sweet cars with cool engines together. One highlight was running into the owner of a Jaguar on display; another highlight was hearing stories from a former undercover agent of his days driving a green Ford Pinto as part of his cover.

It's been a great week. We've learned much. There is much more to learn. May the Lord give these men fruitful lives, quick minds, soft hearts, strong backs, and Spirit-filled, Bible-saturated souls in order to impact culture.

Lesson 1: Take the risk. Be courageous.
Lesson 2: Be responsible. Take on the difficult joy of shepherding others and cultivating community.
Lesson 3: Be resiliently righteous. Because we have been imputed Jesus' righteousness, we can recover from setbacks and sin.
Lesson 4: Integrity. Keep your word, no matter how painful.
Lesson 5: Lion-like lambs. Be tough or tender depending on the need of the moment.


"Be on the alert. Stand firm in the faith. Act like men. Be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." -1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Booth Western Art Museum Exhibit with stagecoach.

Today's lesson focused on integrity: Christian men keep their word. Psalm 15 opens by asking who can ascend God's holy hill (a reference to entering the temple); the psalm then goes on to describe such a person. Verse 4 says such a man "swears to his own hurt and does not change."

As an example of being a man of his word, we started the movie Conagher, a film about a cowboy who honors his word at cost to himself. 

The theme of integrity continued with a visit to the Booth Western Art Museum. Besides enjoying world-class art, we pondered both good examples of integrity and bad examples of disingenuity: for example, the promises that many white people and their governments broke to Native American Indians. The day closed out with a late but large feast at Mellow Mushroom.

One take-away maxim from the day: "The worst thing an honest man can do is to make an honest mistake." Here's to asking the Holy Spirit to make our men into upright oaks of integrity in a land sometimes parched for honesty. 

Lesson 1: Take the risk. Be courageous. 
Lesson 2: Responsibility: embrace the difficult joy of shepherding. 
Lesson 3: Resilient righteousness: steeled in Christ's righteousness, we recover from setback.
Lesson 4: Integrity: we keep our word and are trustworthy.


"Be on the alert. Stand firm in the faith. Act like men. Be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." -1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Our third day focused on resilient righteousness: standing firm in the faith, even after sins and setbacks. Christian men find their security in the imputed righteousness of Jesus Messiah, so they aren't devastated by failure. Yes, we run into obstacles and we fall short, but we have an "adamantium skeleton" of Jesus' righteousness that can't be broken (like the comic book character Wolverine's adamantium skeleton can't be broken).

To practice resilient righteousness, we went to Arkenstone Paintball field for a service project and then paintball: both afforded us multiple opportunities to experience obstacles and failures and to recover. Making a mistake laying gravel, getting hit in the hand with a paintball, getting out in a game or dealing with a jammed gun: all of these instances are little practices for the innumerable occasions in life when we will fall short or encounter difficulties.

An added, unexpected bonus came for us when JB, one of our paintball refs, was so impressed with our group that he shared his testimony with us, including his childhood as a Christian, his experience serving as a marine in Afghanistan, and his life afterward; he told us he'd never told anyone else that story, and encouraged us to show ourselves the same grace Jesus showed us.

The Lord gave us another great day. He is good.

Lesson 1: Christian men take risks for the good of others; they are courageous.

Lesson 2: Christian men assume responsibility for the good of others; they shepherd others in love.

Lesson 3: Christian men are resilient in Christ's righteousness: neither sin nor setbacks keep us down.

A sneak peak of tomorrow: Christians practice integrity!

TUESDAY"Be on the alert. Stand firm in the faith. Act like men. Be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." -1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Today's focus lay in letting all that we do be done in love. The big idea: responsibility. Christian men take on the difficult joy of cultivating and shepherding others. They assume responsibility. Our image-of-the-day was Simba from The Lion King. Simba is tempted to pursue the life of hakuna matata: the life of no worries. He has no responsibilities, but he also has no significance; he wiles away his life as a carefree bachelor, literally eating bugs. Only when his late father tells him, "You are more than you have become," does Simba realize his responsibility to assume kingship and care for the animals under him.

Spring Term team with Mr. Zack Shaffer plays on the playground with first grade students.

Likewise, Christian men don't pursue carefree lives. They embrace the difficulties that come with cultivating others and shepherding them for the joy of seeing others grow. To that end, we spent the afternoon working with our prayer partners in Ms. Van Horn's first grade class. We played some games outside and then spent most of our time making shadow puppets and accompanying plays with our kids. We closed out the day praying together. It was a good opportunity to have just a sample of the joy of investing in others; here's to hoping the Holy Spirit is pleased to build on that investment in the future.

Act like men.
Take the risk.
Burn the boat.
Assume the responsibility.
Forget hakuna matata.

Mr. Shaffer's Spring Term team plays tag with first grade students.

MONDAY"Be on the alert. Stand firm in the faith. Act like men. Be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." -1 Corinthians 16:13-14

This short course's goal is to build biblical men. Today we focused on the trait of courage: Christian men take (reasonable) risks for the good of people around them. They don't settle for the false safety of security.

We opened the day with a devotion on the importance of "burning the boat." In the story of Pinocchio, Pinocchio's father, Gepetto, goes to sea to search for him, but a gigantic whale, Monstro, swallows Gepetto's boat hole. Gepetto is fine; he survives inside Monstro's enormous belly by staying on the boat and living off the fish he catches inside Monstro's belly. Pinocchio eventually finds Gepetto and gets inside Monstro to rescue him. Gepetto wants to stay safe with Pinocchio in Monstro indefinitely; it's not a great life, but they have each other; they have the boat; they have sustenance in the fish. They are secure. Pinocchio, however, wants to escape Monstro by making Monstro sneeze: his plan is to make a big fire so the smoke will make Monstro sneeze them out. Unfortunately, the only wood they have is the boat. So Pinocchio takes the courageous risk of "burning the boat": he abandons security to risk escaping into freedom.

He's successful, and his success is a model for us Christians. We follow the Jesus who risked everything for us: his sacrificed his reputation, his comfort, his security, his place with the Father, to purchase us. And so we take risks for others: we risk sharing the gospel with them; we risk trying new things; we risk taking initiative in relationships; we risk leading others.

Top Golf may not be a terribly risky thing in itself, but it gave an opportunity for many of us to try something new: most of us had never held a golf club before. We also "risked" new relationships by spending time with new people outside our comfort zones. We'll continue to "burn the boat" the rest of this week, and hopefully our lives, as we take risks in order to love others and to lead and serve well.

Mr. Shaffer's Spring Term at Top Golf.