John Gray - Man Up
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Strange how we all came to be here tonight. Strange when you think about it, this whole thing about faith. This whole thing about belief. This whole thing about church. Strange how you come week after week. Strange how you took time out, with all the other things that you have on your plate to get here between 7:30 and 8:45, to be fed and to be encouraged and to gather with other believers. A believer, believer. That's a strange word because it's not a knower, it's a believer because a knower is knowledge-based. It's empirical. It's I can touch it therefore it's real. But when you believe, you don't have to touch it to know that it's real and that's where your faith kicks in and I'm in a church full of believers.
Am I with the believers tonight? I want to make sure I'm in the right church with some people that believe God is who God says God is and it doesn't matter the circumstance that you find yourself in because God sometimes will hide himself in plain sight, incognito. He's right there but you miss him. You walk right through him or right past him and we miss him and he's right there and sometimes we're calling on him and he's whispering right in our ear. And it's that still, small voice that prompts you to keep going, to get up, to fight again, to pray again, to keep believing, keep trusting, keep hoping.
And I want to speak to believers tonight. I want to speak and encourage some believers tonight. I want to set you faith on edge. I want your expectation to rise up while you're chewing your premium gum and while you're at home getting those kids to bed, trying to figure out all the other things that you've got to do to get ready for tomorrow morning. And we thank God for everyone who is watching online around the world. But, tonight, I want to encourage believers. Particularly, I want to speak words of life to the men of God. I am tired of Christian men being vilified and disrespected and laughed at and mocked for our beliefs, for our faith, for what we stand for, for who we are, as men, as husbands, as fathers, as leaders and it's time for men of God to be celebrated.
It's time for you to know how much you matter to the earth. If every man would do me a favor and just stand up if you're able because I want to acknowledge the greatness that you carry. I want to acknowledge the anointing that you carry. Would you look at this church, filled with men who love God? Ladies, can we celebrate these mighty men? Let them know how much we appreciate them. Fellas, if there's a brother around, you high five him, let him know he's not alone in this. Let's celebrate one another. We need each other. We live in community, we can struggle on our own but it's hard to struggle when you got a community with you. I didn't tell you to sit down, man. I didn't tell you to sit down. Stand up, sir. I want to celebrate men who stand up in the community. Who stand up in their homes. Who stand up with their children. I want to celebrate those men. We need more men like you.
Tonight, the word of the Lord comes to your house to give you the strength you need so that you can be the man you've been called to be. I want you to know that we don't worship like the women. Our sound is different than the ladies and right now, it's all right for you to be who God created you to be. We're warriors. We don't clap soft. We clap loud. We do all kinds of things that the ladies don't do and it's all right because God created you first with heaven in mind, with earth under your feet. It's time for the men to walk in the original position of authority that God created for you to walk in. And I want you to know that you are needed in the community. You are needed on your job. You are needed on the streets. You are needed in the air. We need your words. We need your leadership. We cannot do it without you. You carry the original intent of God and I want to celebrate every mighty man that's in this place and at home right now.
I don't know if it's because I'm not feeling 100% but I've been real emotional today. I was pulled up tonight and I pulled up and I couldn't stop crying, Dr. Paul and Robin and some of the other security were there. I'm sure they were trying to figure out what was wrong with me but I couldn't get it together. I'm being transparent, if you don't mind. But I know, that as I pulled up, I said, "God, I don't deserve all this. I know where I came from. I came from a single-parent family. No way I should be preaching in one of the greatest churches in all the world. No way I should be pulling up with my wife and my son. No way I should be here, but you did it. And only you did it". And when men understand that it's God who wants the glory and it's God that gave you that job and God that gave you those skills and God that blessed you with what you have. When men submit themselves and humbly worship, God will elevate you even further.
Are there any men that don't mind giving God a great praise? You can be seated because it ain't just for you. I want to shout out all of these mighty women of God. Women who have prayed us through. Women who have fought the good fight. Ladies go ahead and stand up. We're about to celebrate you as well. Tonight, I want you to know that your prayers have been heard. God has heard the prayers of the women of God. I want you to know that things shift and right now they begin to move in activity in the heavens that come to the earth. Your prayers are rushing towards you in the form of answers. In the form of unexpected increase.
I'm talking to some Proverbs 31:10-31. Women who know what you carry. You carry the authority of God. You back up the man of God but you don't take a backseat to anyone. You are entrepreneurs, intercessors, prophets, preachers, teachers, real estate agents, bank managers. You handle business. You run the show. You are the one that we can't do without. I want to celebrate every mother in here. Every mother, every grandmother, every aunt that has ever prayed and cried over her children. Every mother that's every slaved over a stove for kids that weren't grateful enough to say thank you, but you did it day in and day out. Catching two buses just to get to work. I want to bless every woman in here that's ever had to cry and still get up and do it all over again the next day. I want to celebrate you. And God celebrates you.
And I want you to know with five weeks left to go before this year is over, God is going to answer your prayer. Oh yes he is. Oh yes he is. Oh yes he is. My God is real. And he's great. And he's greatly to be praised. I'm sorry, but he's been too good to me this year to not give him a great praise. I'm talking to some women in here that you've had to pray your whole family through. I don't know who I'm talking to but it's literally, you've been carrying the weight of your whole family. But God is getting ready to lift the heavy burden for Jesus said, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light".
I feel God touching the heart of somebody's husband in here. He's going to be like, "You keep going to that church. I guess I'll go". And the moment he gets in here, God's going to grab his heart. Oh yes, your prayers are going to be answered for your husband, for your sons, for that daughter, for that grandson, that granddaughter, that nephew, that niece. I'm sorry, you all can go ahead and sit down. I'm trying to keep it together. Normally I let my little son stay at home but I told my wife today, early this afternoon, I said, "He's coming with us tonight. I don't care about his little bedtime". He's been battling all little sicknesses and illnesses and last night, I just got fed up with it and I went in with my oil and I anointed everything in that room.
Now I know some of you are visitors and you're saying, "You used Crisco and you poured Crisco"? No, that's for the chicken that I don't eat. But, um, I got some anointing oil. I know it sounds old-fashioned. It might sound weird, but every now and then you need to go ahead and remember what got you through before insurance, before doctors, before you had the money to pay. Every now and then you need to remember your grandmother praying, putting a little bit of oil and just, "Father, in the name of Jesus, heal that baby, heal him right now, I bind every devil in hell, every infirm spirit and I declare Psalm 91 over this baby".
I prayed while he was asleep. My wife said, "Baby, you're going to wake him up". I said, "I don't care, he ain't got a job". I prayed until I felt the breakthrough because that's my son. It's my son. And sickness can't have him. The world can't have him. Daycare doesn't raise my son, I raise my son. We are in a fight for a generation. I said we're in a fight for a generation. And I'm not leaving my position vacant. This word is for the family but I'm going to address the men of God first. And ladies, I don't want no "Mm-mmm, I know that's right". I don't need that.
"He answered him and said, 'o faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to me'. Then they brought him to him. And when he saw him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed foaming at the mouth. So he asked his father, 'how long has this been happening to him'? And he said, 'from childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us'. Jesus said to him, 'if you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes'".
I'm not finished with the scripture yet, I just needed to stop because I feel like I'm talking to somebody all the way up at the top. You got here tonight, you didn't even, you weren't even sure if you were supposed to come. You weren't sure if you were supposed to login but you're here now. You're at the edge. You're at the end of your rope. You're not really sure about this whole faith thing. You've struggled too much. You've prayed too many times, only to have your prayers either go unanswered or God shows up with something different than what you ordered. I ordered chicken, why did you bring me a hot dog. But God knows that the chicken you wanted wouldn't do for you on the inside what this hot dog would. God knew that if you got the answer to your prayer it would take your further from him.
Sometimes, God modifies your request for what's best. But I want to strengthen your faith. He said "'all things are possible to him who believes'. Immediately the father of the child cried out and he said with tears, 'Lord, I believe: help my unbelief'"! I'm tired of church being this place where we come in like we have it all together. What are we doing in these chairs if we're not searching for healing, for peace, for deliverance, for freedom, for answers? We're not here to show off the latest fashion. We're not here simply for social interaction. We are a community of faith believers. And we are the church and Jesus Christ is the head of the church and I need him to show up tonight. Otherwise I wasted time in traffic. I need God to do a miracle in my life. And I'm not the only one. My brother right there. There are others.
Men of integrity, men of God, we come here not because we have it together. We come here because we need somebody to put it together. "He said 'Lord I believe: help my unbelief'. When Jesus saw the people came running together. He rebuked the unclean spirit". Notice Jesus said, "Before the crowd shows up. Let me deal with your issue because some people just want to look and stare". Some people just want to watch. People love train wrecks. You know that most of the traffic with a car accident is not the accident? It's the people watching. All the lanes are open you're just, "Oh, would you look at that dent in the fender, look at that". Drive. Nothing in the road but you stop because of the lights.
We love to see train wrecks. We gawk at brokenness. Jesus said, "Before you become another piece of gossip, let me go ahead and finish this, because you approached me the right way". "He rebuked the unclean spirit saying to a deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out him", I love this part, "And enter him no more. The spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And the boy became as one dead so that many said, he gone, he out of here, call the people, come get him, he's gone. Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose".
Now what I want to preach about for the nine minutes I got left after my 40 minute intro, is man up. Man up. Go ahead and just say it out loud, man up. Man up, for the purposes of this sermon, are not words specific to a gender. I want ladies to also get the essence of what I'm saying in the spirit. That there comes a point in time where the pushing, the shoving of the enemy and whatever he's doing to your family and your finances and to your house and to your heart and to your marriage and to your life and to your dreams, at some point, enough is enough.
And you got to say, "I don't know what's going to happen, but you ain't going to hit me no more. I don't know how this is going to roll, but you done put your hands on my family the last time". I got one, two, three, maybe about four or five witnesses. I think we've become a little too casual and we come to church with this predisposition to God handling it all by himself. But the Bible declares in 1 Peter 5, "Be sober, and vigilant for your adversary", the devil, "Walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour".
I want to catch the anointing on the scripture. It says, "Your adversary". You want God to handle something that he's already given to you. I need you to understand that God does not fight devils. God doesn't fight anyone. I need you to get this in your spirit because a lot of times in our misplaced theological understanding, we assume that God and the devil are equal opposites. They are not. One is omniscient, omnipotent, all-knowing, all-loving, all powerful, unstoppable, unapproachable, great, worshiped by angels, living elders, Cherubim, Seraphim, and he created the universe with his words and the other is an unemployed worship leader. I don't have no help in here. Do you understand that every time you worship, you remind him of the job he lost? I invite you to remind the devil of the position he lost right now.
This man had to make a choice. Do I stay with the status quo and watch my son die, or do I bring him to the rabbi, to the teacher, to the one I keep hearing about? And he made a choice, but I'm sure it wasn't easy. He had to make that choice when he got to the end of himself. I want to speak to any men in here. Pride is the greatest deterrent to destiny. If you really want to go to the place that God has prepared for you, you're going to have to lay down your right to be right. God's looking for some men who will humble themselves under the mighty hand of Process, and under the mighty hand of Process, capital P, translation, under the mighty hand of God, so that he can raise you up in due time.
He's looking for men who will submit to the tough place, to the hard place. He's looking for some men who will not mind doing the grunt work, the thankless work, men who will show up early to volunteer at church, even though you've never done it, just walk in and ask what needs to be done. You see trash on the floor. It's our church. It's our job. Don't wait for somebody else to do it. This is what God is looking for, men who are not worried about title, but they are worried about kingdom and they are worried about integrity and character and purity and honoring the gift of salvation that's been given to them. Real men who understand that you can use your passion to fuel the fire of excitement and enthusiasm inside the house of God, men who are humble enough to know you did not make it on your own.
There are no self-made men. You didn't put yourselves together. You didn't put the egg and the seed together. You didn't give yourself DNA. You didn't raise yourself. You didn't even know how to feed yourself. Your mama, daddy, or somebody fed you to get you to where you are. Nobody made themselves. You are a product of a loving God. And the moment that men submit to the process and say, "God, you made me, it's your show, show me which way to go", we are going to see a revival in the land. Somebody say man up. See, this man said, "I got a boy here. My son has a mute spirit. He doesn't know how to talk and it throws him into the fire and into the water". Fire and water are symbolic of two things that the church struggles with. Fire is symbolic of the law.
See, God showed up on the mountain. That mountain, the top of that mountain was on fire. Told the children of Israel, "Don't approach it. Don't even let the cattle approach it. If the cattle come too close, they got to go. Any man comes too close, he's got to go". They were terrified. They saw that fire and they knew God meant business. Fire was symbolic of the law. But water, Jesus said to the woman at the well, "If you knew the gift of God and who it was who was speaking to you, you'd ask him and he would give you the living water". He was the embodiment of grace itself. And so we still, in the church, are fighting between law and grace. Do we try to present ourselves as having it all together, or do we submit and say there's nothing in ourselves that we can give to God of value outside of our will?
And so many men struggle in the place of submitting their will. Pssh, I don't submit. I'm a grown man, pssh. I run things. A lot of that bravado comes from fear because we don't want to be duped, we don't want to be played, we don't want to be used, we don't want to be manipulated. But God's not in the business of manipulation. He's in the business of making men. He's in the business of developing leaders. He's in the business of raising up husbands and fathers. And it's time for men to get back in position. I could read all of these statistical metrics on fatherlessness and the need for fathers in the home. It would stagger you the amount of the percentage of those who are incarcerated, drug addicted, rapists, arsonists, those who have behavioral issues diagnosed.
Disproportionately, all of those metrics show that there was no father in the home. We need men back where they belong. I don't know, even if you're not married to the mama, those are still your kids. Talk to 'em, call 'em. When you can, send money, but when you can do more, send yourself. Me and her don't get along. It's not about her. It's about those kids. They need to see you. I saw my father maybe four times in my life. I remember each one like it was yesterday. Because even at 40 years old, there's a part of me that's still searching for that father to tell me who I am, to validate who I am. But now, I got a son and I've got to pour into him. And the very thing that I need, I am now become to my own boy. And this scripture, this scripture speaks to the power of a father who doesn't care about pride, who doesn't care about appearances 'cause it's embarrassing if your son has a problem. You don't want to bring that to church.
Brandon, come here real quick. Hurry up. Come on. 13 seconds. Don't slip on them steps. Okay, lay down on the floor, please. I just need you to start foaming at the mouth, just, just go ahead. Go ahead, keep going, real loud. So, the man says, "Jesus, my son is foaming at the mouth". You can't laugh. You got a demon. Come on, get into it. It's Lakewood. So the man is, like, "My son, he's on the ground, he's screaming". Keep going. You're a bad demon. And so Jesus, the Bible says Jesus, while the boy is doing this, read it, it's hilarious, stands over the boy and says, "How long has he been doing this"? Keep going. So, here's my thing. Why is Jesus doing this in front of these people? A demon-possessed boy on the ground. He's talking to the father in front of the boy.
Now Jesus didn't do this for any other issue. He would immediately heal the people, cast out the devil, but this time, he wants to have a conversation. "How long your boy been acting like this? He been doing this since school? He been on that school bus, that camel? He been on them camels, that yellow camel, going to school"? While he's doing this, Jesus is just talking. Have you ever felt like you brought something to God and the thing is doing this and Jesus is like, "Tell me more". I don't want to tell you more. I need you to deliver me. Before I do, talk to me. How you been? Don't ask me no questions. My son has got. I don't want to go outside. I'm not going to eat that, mommy. Jesus has a conversation with the father. And you know what he asks him? He says, "How long has this been happening"?
What he wanted to know is have you been in position? Keep going. This is, you get a bonus for this, bro. Jesus was... I need you to understand that the story wasn't about the boy. Yeah, hey! The story wasn't about the boy. The story was about the father. Jesus wanted to see, have you manned up? Have you done what you needed to do? How long has this been going on? He didn't ask the mother because the father has authority in the house. I need to talk to some men. I know you'd been putting a lot of burden on your wife. She's been running, handling the bills, and doing all that.
Let me tell you something. A lot of pressure on that woman. The job of the heavy lifting is on that man. I just need to speak that. The ladies, they don't want to clap 'cause they don't want to embarrass their husband, like, "Amen". But you got a free one, ladies, if you know I'm talking right. Ladies need their men to step up and take some of the pressure off. Men, I need you to get back in position. Men, I need you to wash them clothes. I need you to put them kids to bed. I need you to rock 'em to sleep. Men, it's time for us to drop 'em off at school. Maybe you'd get to work a little later, but your kids need to see you there. Jesus dealt with the father before he dealt with the son. How long has he been doing this? You've been too busy to cover him? I want to know. He said, "He's been doing this for a long time and it's been trying to kill him. I don't know what else to do". Jesus said, "Great". Here's a man that's not too proud to say, "I don't have it".
In the name of Jesus, my children will live and not die. They're going to walk in health, wholeness, holiness, power, integrity, increase. They'll walk in strength. They'll walk in victory. They're going to be worshipers. They're going to be faithful husbands and wives. They're going to be gainfully employed. They will own businesses. They will be contributors and not detractors. I declare it over my seed. I'ma stay in position. I'ma man up. Give it up for brandon montGomery. That's my brother. Amen, that's my little brother. He's single, loves Jesus, all of his teeth. All right. I know we got to go, but I got something else I need to say. Is that all right? Jesus wanted to know the Father's perspective. How long has been doing this? He wanted to know how long have you fought for him.
It's time for the men to fight for these kids out here in these streets. Stop looking at the news, talkin' 'about them bad kids. No, they don't have a father. They need you to get 'em. They need you to love on 'em. They need you to fight for 'em. I ain't got no kids. I ain't married. Let me tell you something, brother. You can go to a school. We got ministry right here. We go to the, what, 5th ward. We got a school that we're covering. You can go down there to the after school program and you can help. You can become the thing that these kids need. We need men in position, men on the wall. We need watchmen to man up. And these ladies won't tell you, but there ain't nothing more attractive than a man who's serving God, a man who knows how to worship, a man who knows how to lift his hands, a man that knows how to submit to God, because if a man can submit to God, a woman can submit to him. I know I'm right about it. Holler at your boy.
Somebody say man up. And don't think that the enemy's just coming after teenagers. You got to beware of Herod. I'm almost done. Everybody say beware of Herod. In the book of Matthew, chapter two, Herod gets so angry and insecure as a grown man because the wise men showed up and said, "Hey, we're looking for your replacement. We heard that the king of the Jews has been born. Want to know 'cause I'm sure you're excited about it too". He was like, "Uh, yeah. Where he at"? Cause Herod wanted his position. He said, "When you find him, come back and tell me so I can worship too". But the wise men, being warned in a dream, went another way. Herod found out and got angry. He issued a decree in Bethlehem and the surrounding regions, kill every male child two years old and under. The enemy will go after your babies, and it is your job to do what Joseph did.
See, Joseph, he manned up. The Bible says in Matthew 2, being warned in a dream, he took Mary and the child and fled to Egypt until Herod was gone. He heard from God for his family and said I'm not gon' put 'em in a position to be injured or harmed. I'ma take my family, I'ma cover my family, I'ma do whatever it takes. I'll step out of my comfort zone. I'll move if I have to, whatever it takes. If I got to get another job to get extra money to put 'em in a different school, whatever it takes. I'm going to put my kids in a position to be successful and I'm not going to wait until they're 12, 13, 14. Even your babies, pray over your children, fight for your children. When you drive past daycare centers, pray over 'em. People are crazy, but if we pray, God will cover 'em. If we just ask the Lord for his protection, God will do it.
Joseph manned up. You know who else manned up? Gideon. In judges 6, Gideon manned up. Here's a man afraid of his own shadow, terrified, so ashamed. He said, "My family is the least of all the tribes and I'm the least in my family. I'm the worst of the worst". God called him a mighty man of valor. He ended up leading 300 men to whoop up on the enemy. God is saying, "I just need somebody that'll trust me. I don't care about your past. In fact, I'd rather you have a couple weaknesses", because, in your weakness, he's made strong.
Somebody say man up. God is looking for some men that'll step up to the plate and get in position like Gideon and say, "In spite of my own self image, I know that the God that's in me is greater than the thing that's in front of me". We need some men to man up, to fight for your marriages, to fight for your community, to fight for your children. I'm tired of apologizing for being a Christian man. I'm a Christian husband. I'm a Christian father. I'm a Christian first. I'm not black first. I'm a Christian first. I don't care about my race. I care about the color of his blood. His blood was red, makes my sins whiter than snow. This is not about color. This is about kingdom. We are a global church and we need to lay down color and all of the politics of race and pick up the blood-stained banner of Jesus Christ. Men from every nation, language, tribe, and tongue standing up, taking their rightful place in the home, in the community, in the schools, on their job. Man up.
Finally, David, king David, he manned up. In 2 Samuel 12, he was confronted by a about his behavior with Bathsheba and Uriah. And instead of saying, "You don't know me, I'm a leader. How dare you talk to me. I'm above that", he said, "What you said is right. I've sinned against God and I've sinned against man". Nathan said, "Your sins are forgiven. You won't die. But war's never going to leave your house". But David manned up, and real men know how to say I missed it. Real mean know how to say I'm sorry. Real mean know how to say I can't do it, I blew it, I need forgiveness, I need mercy, I need grace. God is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you of all unrighteousness.
And as my time draws to a close, I want you to know that even though I've been speaking to the men primarily, the women are applauding in their hearts because, in their heart, they're crying out for those types of men, men who will step up in spite of statistics, in spite of society's dictate. In spite of what the world says, these women want men in position. They want a worshiper in the home, a man that'll pray over the house, that'll lead the family in devotion, that'll pray over those kids every night. They want a man that'll, even if you can't sing, you'll try to sing a hymn every now and then. God is looking for some men, and I'm telling you, these women will rise up to another level when the men of God get in position and become the warriors in their home, in the community, on their job, in every area of society.
Heads bowed, eyes closed. If you're here and you know that God has given you, through this word, a charge in your spirit to grab responsibility and take some things in your life to another level, let me see your hands. Let me see your hands. If this word was for you, it encouraged you, it challenged you. It's not a salvation call. I just want to know if I was preaching to the right church. Father, those hands represent those who are saying I'ma man up or I'ma woman up and I'm going to step up to the plate and I'm going to be everything that you created me to be and I will not shirk responsibility nor give it to anyone else. The moment is mine. You've given me this life, these gifts, these talents. I'm going to use 'em for your glory.