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Our Way of Relating Leaves Us Empty

“Self-obsessed men and women foolishly demand from others what only God can give, what God longs to give. We then realize, as God’s Spirit works in us, that our way of relating leaves us empty and is unspeakably ugly. If we then confess ourselves to be hopeless and helpless in the presence of a holy and merciful God, we begin our walk on the narrow road that will free us to live as feminine women and masculine men.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Fully Alive, Page 181

Question for Reflection:
Who do you long to be as a relationally feminine woman or masculine man?
What is keeping you from becoming that person?

The Gender Question, An 11-week DVD Series
Based on the book Fully Alive
Click Here to Purchase: http://store.newwayministries.org/Studies-Curriculum-c7/

Until A Man Is Humbled

“Until a man is humbled by acknowledging the fear that drives him, by admitting to an emptiness he cannot resolve, by realizing that the way he relates impacts no one deeply, and by bowing low in brokenness over how far short he falls of God’s relational design for men, he will spend his life doing much that amounts to little.”

Question for Reflection:
Men fear “weightlessness,” the fear that a man might not have what it takes to deeply impact the soul of another for good. What do you recognize in yourself as you read that statement?
Where does it ring true in your life, or, as a woman, in the life of the men you know?

The Gender Question, An 11-week DVD Series
Based on the book Fully Alive by Dr. Larry Crabb
You can purchase the DVD Series here: http://store.newwayministries.org/Studies-Curriculum-c7/

The Core Terror of a Woman

“The core terror of a woman is invisibility, the fear that no one will see something in her that they want. An authentically feminine woman is so at rest in God’s delight in her Spirit–provided indestructible beauty that she refuses to be a slave to her ongoing fear of invisibility. She so fully enjoys the beauty of the God whose love casts out the power of her fear that she relates for one supreme purpose: to draw others to be consumed by the transforming beauty of the God who her relational femininity can put on display.”

Question for Reflection:
As a woman, where do you see the terror of invisibility generating a strong desire to “manage” your relationships?
As a man, what happens in you when a woman tries to “manage” your relationship?

The Gender Question, An 11-week DVD Series
Based on the book Fully Alive by Dr. Larry Crabb
To Purchase: http://store.newwayministries.org/Studies-Curriculum-c7/

Falling Short of God’s Relational Glory

“With our masks, fig leaves, personas, and secrets all well positioned, we live not to reveal the God of love by the way we relate, but to hide from the fear that threatens to destroy us–our core terror. We fall short of God’s relational glory. We are never fully alive in relational femininity or masculinity. We live alone, in silent misery, meeting no one on the bridge.”

Question for Reflection:

Dr. Crabb believes that when fear is our ruling passion, self-protective, self-centered relating seems both necessary and justified. How do you see fear functioning in the way you relate?

The Gender Question, An 11-week DVD Series
Based on the book Fully Alive by Dr. Larry Crabb

Purchase the DVD Series here

First Failure Of Relational Masculinity

“But Adam remained silent. He failed to remember and move. That first failure of relational masculinity has now become the pattern of relating that comes naturally to all Adam’s descendants. Men don’t cross the bridge.”

“…relational masculinity is revealed in a man who remembers God’s story and moves to advance its plot.”

The Gender Question, An 11-week DVD Series
Based on the book Fully Alive by Dr. Larry Crabb
Question for Reflection:
Where did your thoughts go as you considered how the first man failed in relational masculinity?

The Gender Question DVD Series can be purchased here:

http://store.newwayministries.org/Studies-Curriculum-c7/

A Note From Larry Crabb

To So Many Friends,

As I write this (with pen and paper, of course – is there now another way?), I’m sitting in a coffee shop 13 days after the March 4 procedure for which so many prayed. Please receive this note as one deeply sincere and very grateful thank you! Enough said, but I want to say more.

First, the procedure – a catheter through a vein in my groin that targeted 3 cancer lesions on my liver – went precisely as planned. The day after Catscan pleased the doctor. As of now, all is well; in the big picture, “all manner of things shall be well” (as Julian of Norwich famously and accurately said.) Significant pain, nausea, and heartburn were expected. No pain, no nausea, and no heartburn materialized – except some probably chemo-related fairly lousy headaches. Nurses were surprised. I am grateful, certainly for your prayers, more for the One who answers them as He sees fit, not as we legislate. He’s never cooperative, always gracious.

Second, I’ve read dozens and dozens of your letters and emails. I’m starting to believe a thousand love-filled prayers assaulted heaven. I suspect the Lord enjoyed them even more than I did. I’ve long been drawn to an understanding of prayer that C.S. Lewis expressed in these words: “When we pray, we take part in the process of being known”. James Houston, a personal mentor, titled one of his books: Prayer: The Transforming Friendship. Our Father already knows us, but I imagine He feels closer to us when we open ourselves fully to Him in trust no matter what happens. The effect is a friendship deepens, on our side. Jesus already called us His friends. Remarkable. It’s that friendship that transforms us into increasingly faithful friends. He needs no transformation; He is already worthy of our worship, whatever happens.

On March 2, our pastor Mimi Dixon wonderfully surprised Rachael and me by inviting 200 people to surround us and pray. I know it meant a lot to Rachael. She came close to tears, as did I. No, tears actually came! For me, the impact was to help me access a quiet confidence that God would advance His good purpose whatever happened, and, somewhat miraculously (whatever a “somewhat miracle” means), I became joyfully aware that I was actually more interested in whatever He chose to do than in my prayer for a successful procedure (I still wanted that too, of course).

Our church friends’ prayers, and each of yours, has stirred good things in me, much more than improved health. I’m grateful. Thank you for your prayers.

Third, the devil seems to find my flesh never more open to his deceit than when I feel deeply blessed, as I have in the days since the procedure. Years ago, I preached a sermon I called “Blessings Are Dangerous”. I can like them too much, and quietly (without realizing it) feel entitled and become more desirous of circumstance-based pleasure than Spirit-provided joy, whatever the circumstance. It is then the devil seizes his nefarious opportunity.

For the past several days, I’ve sensed a distance between my soul and God’s love. That awareness precipitated a battle: the urge to reproduce good feelings through my own resources and in dependence on loving responses from others and based on blessed efforts at writing my next book versus the longing to non-demandingly trust in God’s heart to provide whatever experience of His presence and any provision of blessing He knows will more deeply form the life of Jesus in me. At the moment, the Spirit is giving me what I need to recognize and resist my devil-energized flesh. Of course He is always giving me what I need; but too often I’m so preoccupied with second things that I fail to be aware of His movement to draw me toward first things. Every movement of knowing His reality is golden. The battle is real but going well.

Now, enough said. I wanted to open myself to you as each of you has opened your heart to me. One more time, THANK YOU!

Warmly in Christ,

Larry

P.S. This letter is addressed first to Rachael, then to my family, to my spiritual formation small group, to my church family at First Presbyterian of Golden, to the dozens who are praying as I work on my next book, to every SSD graduate, and to the thousands who have been so gracious to indicate their willingness to keep up with NewWay Ministries through Rachael’s prayer initiative. To all of you, I’m most grateful.

Counterfeit Masculinity

“As someone put it, my path to counterfeit masculinity began on the ball field, shifted to the bedroom, and moved into the boardroom. Meanwhile, my marriage was crumbling.”

“Until a man’s movement toward others reveals God’s movement toward him, until a man remembers that he bears God’s image and moves to reveal God’s character to others, that man will pursue counterfeit masculinity with the fierce loyalty of an addict, whether through displayed talent, pleasurable lust, or recognized success.”

Question for Reflection:

What version of “counterfeit masculinity” are you as a man (or the men in your life as a woman) most susceptible to pursuing (e.g. income, success, sex appeal, talent, abilities)?

The Gender Question, an 11-week DVD Series
Based on the book Fully Alive by Dr. Larry Crabb

Click Here to Purchase

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