"Not Pastors..but Regular Guys". Engaging, deep and often humorous looks at faith in today's world by our panel. Man Up is the Adult Bible Fellowship for Men at Sugar Land Baptist Church in Sugar Land, Tex., encouraging Christian spiritual growth through scripture study. Contact us on Facebook un…
James counsels patience In the face of injustice, suffering and difficult relationships. Moreso, James seems promote a lifestyle of "active patience" as a way of coping with life's frustrations. For action-oriented, goal-driven men, is this even possible? March 29, 2022 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Robert Cocheu, Michael Cropper
Is complacency--the belief that every aspect of your life is under your control--just a form of soft arrogance? Everything that's happened in the past two years--right up to the crisis in Ukraine, directly counters that idea. In stark terms, James says only a fool puts faith in the dependability of long-range plans and the permanence of wealth. Yet we won't deny the difficulty in submitting ourselves to a role in God's plan. March 22, 2022 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Michael Cropper
James says that true humility and submission is the key to ending enmity and creating loving relationships. But as men, don't we work hard to excel at what we do and to earn what we have? Is it wrong to cultivate one's gifts from God, recognize their value, and put them to good use in the world? We try to find the balance between James call for humility and doing our best to be salt and light for the world. March 15, 2022 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Robert Cocheu, Michael Cropper
Our panel takes up the challenge of seeking God's wisdom, from both the Bible and experience. Along the way, we discuss mentoring, humility and discernment. No one said it was easy. March 10, 2022 Bill Cox, Robert Cocheu, Michael Cropper
Lions and killer whales have shown to be easier to train than the tongue. We talk about James' advice to choose words wisely when choosing to speak--or text, tweet or post--and perhaps be ready to ask if it's wise to do so at all. March 8, 2022 Bill Cox, Robert Cocheu, Michael Cropper, Earl Lloyd
Point/Counterpoint! We interweave scripture from Galatians and James to create a spirited debate between Paul and James over the role human action might have, if any, on personal salvation--always a touchy subject, especially in Evangelical churches. We attempt to find the common ground between two passionate church founders. February 22, 2022 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Robert Cocheu
Sunday school tend to pigeonhole this passage into another "be kind to the poor" lesson, but read correctly, it calls out the human inclination toward bias, prejudice, judging by appearance and general social stratification. These traits were already pervading the church of James' time and he ardently decries them sinful. Do we still take our conscious and unconscious biases us into church? Check your privilege at the door for this provocative discussion. February 15, 2022 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Michael Cropper
We wade into a stream-of-conscious passage in the letter of James that hits as many as six points in nine verses. We spend time on the difference between destructive anger and righteous anger, as well as ways Christians can properly express the emotion. We talk about putting words into action and the virtues of listening over talking (as podcasters this does not escape our sense of irony). Robert explains why he avoided seeing "The Blair Witch Project." February 8, 2022 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Robert Cocheu, Michael Cropper
What is the difference between temptation and a test? We hash out the similarities and differences, James says temptation does not come from God, but what about so-called trials? While God tests individuals in the Bible, should we regard every difficulty we face "a trial from God?" Sunday school sayings notwithstanding, how do we as Christian men, even as we prize our own strength and resourcefulness, truly lean on God through dark times? February 1, 2022 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Robert Cocheu, Michael Cropper
We begin a study of the Letter of James, believed to be one of the earliest of New Testament writings, and certainly among the most practical in terms of Christian living. We begin with the idea of finding joy through perseverance amid trials and hardship. The fellows do some intense sharing of experience as they talk about "active patience" and "suffering with a tranquil mind." Recorded January 19, 2022 Bill Cox, Robert Cocheu, Michael Cropper
In our second podcast on Samson, we turn to one of the most popular stories in the Bible, Samson's ill-fated affair with Delilah. But how well are the particulars of this tale really explored, and what conclusions does it force us to make? Was Delilah really a temptress, or just a loyal Philistine subject? How much was the famed Israelite strongman responsible for his own come-down. Join us as continue our "revisionist" look at Samson. January 18, 2022 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Robert Cocheu, Michael Cropper
In the first of two podcasts on Samson, we look at why it's so difficult to fit this Herculean figure into a Sunday school box. He seems to serve God more through his flaws and disobedience then through faithful purpose. Is he a hero, an anti-hero, or just a spoiled brat intimidating enough to get his own way? Are we too rough on the big guy? Listen, comment and share! January 11, 2022 Bill Cox. Steve Titch. Robert Cocheu. Michael Cropper, Earl Lloyd
While we take our Christmas/New Year's break, we've re-posted our Christmas 2020 podcast, in which we look at Joseph, one of the most important figures in the Christmas story yet one who rarely gets any attention. God delegates the care and protection of Mary and the child Jesus to Joseph, who remains humble and obedient to the Lord, while decisive and purposeful in accomplishing the difficult and stressful tasks he faces.
For our annual Christmas podcast, we look at the journey of the Magi, an expedition of faith that has captured the imagination of Christians and non-Christians alike since the nativity story has been told. Who were the Magi? What motivated them to pack up and travel as far as a thousand miles to investigate an astrological portent that was only peripheral to their own religious and national background? Along the way we discuss comets, planetary conjunctions and various other astronomical phenomena, and contrast the open-minded curiosity of foreign non-believers with the cynicism and indifference of the ruling religious and political elite. December 21, 2021 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Robert Cocheu, Michael Cropper
We look back on the stories of each of the biblical judges we've studied these past weeks, looking at how each had their own leadership characteristics. We pick our favorite judges--and Bill gives one-verse wonder Shamgar his due--as well as make an ironic choice as to the judge we men would choose to follow. We also ponder the general absence the priestly class of Levites during the time of the judges, and ask, despite God's preference for no earthly sovereign, whether Israel would have survived without uniting under one king, December 14, 2021 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Robert Cocheu, Michael Cropper
Is it really the case that we either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain? In a spirited discussion, we look at the questionable decisions Gideon makes after his resounding victory over the Midianites. Does he mirror other great men who are overcome by their faults? We debate the motivations Gideon may have had for making an idol of a gold ephod. Was it pride, insecurity, fear or any combination? Is a man's character most vulnerable at the moment of his greatest achievement? December 7, 2021 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Robert Cocheu, Mike Cropper, Earl Lloyd
As Gideon pursues the invading Midianites back across the Jordan, we look at leadership decisions he makes. We admire his diplomacy with in getting the tribe of Ephraim to join the fight, but debate his post-victory execution of all the men of Penial, which along with Sukkoth, refused to provide food for his army when it was on the march. Was it a necessary demonstration of support for the men under his command, or the act of an heroic general-turned-petty tyrant? November 30, 2021 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Robert Cocheu, Mike Cropper, Earl Lloyd
Gideon's call to Israel brings 32,000 men, but God has other plans, and has Gideon winnow his army down to 300, which he marches into battle armed only with trumpets, jars and torches. This story kicks off a discussion in the Christian disciple of simplicity--divesting the accumulated clutter that offers the illusion of security in your life and placing absolute trust in God. No one said this was easy, and even Gideon looked for repeated assurance. Join us for as we explore this curious and, yes, humorous tale. November 23, 2021 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Robert Cocheu, Mike Cropper, Earl Lloyd
Should we ever test God? Some scripture says we shouldn't, but then we get Gideon, who asks for not one, but two signs of God's authenticity (not even counting an earlier demonstration) and is not rebuffed. Our panel concurs that there are appropriate time to test God when we feel a he is calling us to Kingdom work, and we discuss when those times are. November 16, 2021 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Robert Cocheu, Michael Cropper
Our study of Judges brings us to Gideon, another Bible hero who, reluctant at first, dives in with a dramatically transgressive act against local pagan worship. We look at how sometimes life can have us, like Gideon, stuck in a futile situation and trying to marshal the courage to act. Gideon trusts God, but also finds his risk rewarded with support from unexpected corners. November 9, 2021 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Robert Cocheu, Mike Cropper
We take up the story of Deborah and Jael, two women who upend the conventional church model of Godly women. Deborah is judge. prophet and warrior. Jael has an unusual notion of maternal hospitality. And because we are a men's podcast, we also consider Barak, Deborah's reluctant general. Was he stymied by analysis paralysis? Was he afraid of battle? Or did he just not like taking orders from a woman? Mike, on the other hand, thinks he deserves more credit for his courage, Listen and judge for yourself. November 2, 2021 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Robert Cocheu, Mike Cropper
We examine the story of Ehud, the Israelite charged with bringing the nation's tribute to the fat Moabite King Eglon until one day buried a home-made sword in the monarch's belly, then led a massive uprising against the occupier. The Bible provides little back story to this unlikely hero, but that doesn't stop us from speculating. After years of accommodating Moabite oppression, did Ehud decide he just had enough? We also look at the idolatry that got Israel into this situation to begin with? Did the nation realize how far it was straying from God? Did it rationalize the distraction from the Baals and Asherahs? Today, amid the “Great Resignation,” are men echoing Ehud, not by stabbing kings, but by overthrowing the idols of career and job status for something more valuable, like God, family and purposeful living? October 21, 2021 Bill Cox, Steve Titch, Robert Cocheu
We begin a study of the Book of Judges, looking first at who the Israelite judges were, where they fit in the biblical history timeline and the overall purpose of the book. First up is Caleb, whose conquest of Hebron is the climax of a story of faith over fear that has been set up in preceding episodes in the books of Numbers and Joshua, with other elements going as far back as Noah's ark in Genesis. We discuss how men can apply Caleb's "whole-hearted" faith, fearless determination and patience to conquering their own daily battles.
In the second of our two "flamethrower podcasts," we dive head first into church polity, liturgy and domination-specific theology and doctrine. Our focus is where the new generation of church leaders should be steering congregations in order to remain engaged and relevant in today's culture as well as an example of "salt and light" to the world. There's no holding back as we discuss various denominational responses to sexual abuse scandals, battles over worship services and changing spousal roles in 21st century families.
In the first of two "flamethrower" podcasts, the panel discusses (and argues about) ways the global church must face the changing realities of today's world. Specifically, we look at cultural pressures of socio-economic inequality, consumerism and sexual ethics. Accommodation, resistance or something in between? What roadmap does the Bible offer in navigating these issues? What must we, as church members, do to overcome division and polarization?
In our final scripture study of Solomon, we contrast the brevity of the account of Solomon's death to the lengthy catalogue of the accoutrements of his wealth that precedes it. This checkered "obituary" leads to some thoughts about building a Christian legacy: how we hope to be remembered and what we hope to leave behind when we die.
Solomon didn't, and as a result, his kingdom splintered. If a leader as wise and faithful as Solomon could allow himself to be distracted by pagan gods and idols, what hope do we ordinary guys have? Solomon's vulnerability was hundreds of wives and concubines plus staggering wealth, a test of God's own warning to Israel's future kings in Deuteronomy 17:17. What weaknesses threaten to take our attention off God and how can we fight them?
At the height of Solomon's reign, the Queen of Sheba visits him in search of answers to "hard questions," presumably about God. We don't know the content of that conversation, but that does not stop us from speculating about it, and discussing how we should answer the "hard questions" put to us by those seeking to know more about Jesus Christ.
Men are natural risktakers. How does Christian faith align with evaluating risk and reward? When does risk become a leap of faith? In this Men Matter segment, Robert Cocheu ("The Professor") and Steve Titch look at Biblical examples of risk-taking ("The Gambler") as they discuss questions of risk, probability and faith. They apply them to current decisions about COVID vaccinations and masking, as well general decisions in everyday life, including the times when we should be prepared to go "all in" for God.
Solomon's Temple has been consecrated; sacrifices have been offered and received; the fanfare has died down and everyone's gone home. In the stillness of the evening, God speaks to Solomon, making the same conditional offer he made to the king's ancestors--love me, obey me and turn from sin and I will remain with you. Forsake me and you will be forsaken. There is hope, but also grim foreshadowing of Judah's downfall. We look at what this ancient passage means for us in modern times. We talk about the challenges Solomon faced: "affluenza" of inherited wealth, affairs of state and hundreds of wives and concubines and of office. Which is the greater danger our relationship with God, disobedience or distraction?
Men's groups at church can be a pilot light for the fire of the Holy Spirit. We talk about ways men in the congregation can step up and offer men spiritual enrichment beyond property repair projects and family activities. In short, there's a place in church for men that extends beyond their wife and children.
The author of 2 Chronicles describes the size and strength of the the pillars of Solomon's Temple, but today, when the Church is the People of Christ themselves, who are its pillars? We discuss what "being a pillar" actually means and ways Christian men can step up and take leadership roles in their church and their community.
The economic alliance between Solomon and King Hirim of Tyre is a jumping off point for a discussion about how Christians should approach business negotiations. Solomon provides an interesting example of wisdom, shrewdness and fairness, but when does shrewdness become exploitation? In the competitive bustle of the marketplace, how do we balance humility with assertion of rightful value of our talents and the fruit of our labor? And what about business associations with non-believers? Hirim did not worship the God of David and Solomon, yet his contribution was instrumental in construction of the Temple, Should we be ready to work alongside non-Christians in service of Christ's mission?
Solomon prays for wisdom as he prepares to begin building the temple. In our discussion, we look at the necessity of wisdom for effective leadership and the degree to which wisdom is expressed in conviction and action.
American Christians have a huge blind spit when it come to wealth an money. We look at David's largesse in terms of gifts of his own gold, silver, bronze and gems toward financing Solomon's temple. This leads to a discussion on tithing, the proper attitude and reasons for giving and the radical Christian idea that everything you have actually belongs to God.
We begin a study of the reign of Israel's King Solomon as recorded in 1 and 2 Chronicles. We start with David's public endorsement of Solomon as heir and king, and the private consul he offers his son as he prepares him for the throne. We talk about the importance of training, encouraging and preparing the way for those who come after us, and the challenge of knowing the right time to hand off leadership.
Recorded live June 19, 2021 at Sugar Land Baptist Church, we revisit the story of David and Bathsheba in the context of how both the culture and the church treat adultery and sexual exploitation, and how Christian men can navigate the minefield of commoditization, trivialization and commercialization of sex.
Jesus asks "Who are my brothers?" This gives us a chance to talk about the difference between blood relatives and so-called church families. Does one replace--or support--the other? What happens when they come into conflict?
Our study of Mark turns to one of the most confusing and debated statements by Jesus--that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable. Our discussion touches on the definition of blasphemy, the differences between blasphemy and unbelief, and the conflict between the claim that the Cross offers complete redemption and the apparent exception of one sin.
Two lessons in one, plus a special guest! First we look at another Sabbath healing by Jesus, and the legalist reaction from the Pharisees, We then look at Jesus' assembly of the 12 apostles, a "motley crew" of provincials who make for an unlikely brotherhood. We're joined by Dr. Chris Curran, senior pastor of Southland Baptist Church, San Angelo, TX, who authored the two scripture lessons from our BaptistWay Press study guide, The ReMARKable Journey Begins
Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, so how did things get so complicated that munching on some wheat raises hue and cry? We continue our look at how Christ challenged the blind legalism of the Pharisees. On the way, we touch on blue laws, HOAs, and little known agricultural techniques. In a 24/7 world, how do we best observe the Lord's Day and keep it holy?
Jesus faces questioning as to why he and his disciples are not fasting when the Pharisees are. Jesus uses this opportunity to preview the idea of a New Covenant, where ritual and tradition give way to faith and relationship. Cross-referencing this week's verse with Jeremiah 31:31-34, we explore the tension between obeying the letter of Old Testament law as revealed to Moses and following spiritual guidance gained from knowledge of Christ.
Jesus dines with Matthew and his tax collector friends, much to the condemnation of the religious authorities. Unlike many of of those Christ ministered to, tax collectors, while rejected by the religious elites, nonetheless had wealth and power. We talk about how Christians can best connect to those who feel religion offers little or nothing to them personally. Apologies in advance for poor sound quality as we wrestle with some new equipment.
Sooner or later faith must become action. To get their paralyzed friend to Jesus, four guys hauled him onto a roof, burrowed a hole and lowered him down. What should we, as Christian men, be prepared to do to bring people to the Lord?
The Professor finds both humor and faith in action in the story of the healing of a paralyzed man in a clip from our upcoming podcast.
We look deeper at Jesus' healing touch of a leprous man and how transgressive it was to a culture which believed it had moral sanction the dehumanize members of a specific group. In a lively discussion, we apply it to today's racial environment, and debate the degree even the most humble of white Christian congregations can be blinded by biases imbued and reinforced across generations. As leaders in our church, how can we best battle inherent human prejudice and build a Kingdom wherein every man and woman is seen as a child and heir of God?
In a preview of next week's podcast, Steve talks the moral significance of Jesus' act of touching and healing a leper.
In a unique gospel passage, Mark gives us a 24-hour day in the life of Jesus. We look at how the Lord balanced time he spent on his vocation, with his circle of friends, and on prayer and spiritual recharging. We look at the model it offers how to manage the pressing demands on our own time, and consider some difficult scenarios we can face when our work, family and church lives get out of balance. We also talk about exorcisms, demons and Jesus' commanding them to silence.
Time is the great equalizer -- even Jesus only had 24 hours each day. Here's a taste of our upcoming podcast on balancing demands on your time.
When a potentially life-changing opportunity comes along, will you recognize it, grab it and commit to it? The first four disciples Jesus called were work-a-day fisherman, yet they saw something in an itinerant preacher that drove them immediately to drop their nets and follow. A big struggle men face is weighing a personal decision that calls for risk--to well-being, relationships and self-image. We explore the fateful decision by Peter, Andrew, James and John to go all-in with Jesus.
In our upcoming podcast on seizing opportunities and committing to the long-term, "Judge" Michael Cropper talks about asking the Lord for help in growing his faith and but gets a difficult answer.