#PRAY127 09.28.20

Last week we prayed for the 29 foster or adoptive families who have enrolled in our Adopt a Family program for the new term. This week I’d love for you to join in praying for the men who are serving these families through our Man Up 100 program.

We live in a world increasingly hostile to masculinity, and perhaps, rightfully so. In fact, I did a straw poll among some women I know a few weeks back and almost all of them viewed the word at least in part, negatively (and these were Christian women). I think this comes from two main factors.

  • First of all, there has been an increasing and rightful recognition in Western culture of the inherent and intrinsic worth of women, or those typically defined with feminine qualities. This is a good thing. The flip side is that in its extreme form, it becomes a feminism that caricatures masculinity as “toxic,” just by definition. It’s a throwing-the- baby-out-with-the- bathwater-response to:
  • The second factor, toxic masculinity (aka, the patriarchy). If there is such a thing as toxic masculinity, then we might just call that men living in opposition to that which God has called them. In that case, toxic masculinity does exist! And it’s a toxicity that has been produced from literally millennia of men behaving badly, especially in how we treat women (and to a degree, children).

Now if we go by a particular culture’s definition, then we have a moving target. What one culture tolerates another may not. We can no more call men making women wear burqas (Islamic culture says) toxic masculinity than we can forcing them to walk 10 feet behind us while going for a Sunday stroll (some far East cultures say).

And what if culture changes, like it has in America? How do we know what’s accepted as legitimate and what’s not at any given time?

Christians and unbelievers belong to two different worlds. The bible calls Christians “strangers and aliens on the earth,” misfits looking for their homeland (Hebrews 11:13-16). For an unbelieving culture, this world is all they have. They live according to standards, dictates, philosophy, and worldview that have no hope for anything better after death.

This is why revolutions come about, nations rise, fall, die, and are birthed again. It is all a temporal power grab that generally brings happiness for a few and a life of subjugation for the rest.

Which is why we can read the words of King David in his blessing to his son Solomon with confidence, when he said:

Be strong. Act like a man. Obey me. Then you will prosper.

In a nutshell, this is why Man Up exists. To see men “Act like a man,” which, in a biblical context, can be interpreted as being a protector of those who may be vulnerable to attack (“being strong”) and doing life in community with God (ie, “walk in obedience”).

The men enrolled in our Man Up 100 programs are trying to live out David’s charge to Solomon – to be strong and protect the fatherless, to act like men and care about others, and to obey Jesus and walk in harmony with Him.

This, says God, is masculinity.

These are the masculine qualities. These are the qualities of men. They are not a moving target, but are fixed and immutable; when we protect the weak, care for others, and walk humbly with God, we are living out our diving calling as men. Strong, humble men.

Will you join me this week in praying for the men in our Man Up 100 program? In the first month of the new term (Sept), we have 76 enrolled men who are giving financially and actively serving foster and adoptive families in two different locations (SW Missouri, Tampa Bay). In just one month, these men have:

This is really cool stuff. It’s practical, it’s tangible, and it’s befitting a man. A strong, masculine man, the kind who humbly gives of his strength for the benefit of others. All of this in obedience to a God who loves him.

Thank you for praying for these men. You might not know them by name, but God does; He can’t wait to empower them because of your prayers!

Jeff Ford, CEO
Isaiah 1:17

P.S. Please pass this email on to those who might be interested in praying with us each Monday. They can sign up to receive these emails here: https://manupandgo.org/pray127.

Man Up Organizes Free Roof for Foster Family

Recently Man Up Tampa Bay was able to coordinate a very special gift for a very special family of 16! (Yup – 11 adopted, 2 might-as-well-be-adopted, 3 biological, and mom and dad. They are awesome!).

The amazing thing about this story is that when we heard about the Perkins family, we knew we had to help, but had no idea how God was going to show up. Not only did He move a local roofing company – TH Roofing – to provide free labor, but He also moved the supplier – Tri County Metals – to provide free materials!

Check out this incredible family’s story:

#PRAY127 09.21.20

Earlier this month we officially enrolled foster families into our Adopt a Family program. What is Adopt a Family? It’s the program we offer for foster (or adoptive) families by which men enrolled in our Man Up 100 initiative serve and support these families to make their lives more manageable.

We have said this often…

If we’re serious about our relationship with God, then we must be serious about His words to us in James 1:27 (among many others in the Scripture); if we’re serious about those words, then we cannot pretend they’re only for a select few.

For followers of Jesus, all of His words are for all of us.

We will continue to onboard families but we have done the bulk of it in the first 3 weeks of September. Families enrolled in our program must have a current foster placement (or have adopted recently). Our Man Up 100 men (and women volunteers who serve in our ministry) are then responsible for meeting needs every single month for each of these families. These might be meals, diapers, household goods, trauma resources, yard work, or various other work projects.

So far, every family who’s onboarded has received a pizza party and other household goods, as needed. We’re also customizing a plan for each family for the rest of the term, which runs through May 31, 2021.

  • In Tampa Bay, we have onboarded 21 families so far.
  • In Springfield (MO), we have onboarded 8 families so far.

While we cannot share their names specifically, would you pray for these families today? They have been called (we believe, by God) to do the hardest kind of James 1:27 work. Our goal is to serve them and support them, and this includes praying. Will you remember them this week in your prayers?

As always, God bless you for your faithfulness in praying.

Jeff Ford, CEO
Isaiah 1:17

P.S. Please pass this email on to those who might be interested in praying with us each Monday. They can sign up to receive these emails here: https://manupandgo.org/pray127.

#PRAY127 09.14.20

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on our AMP guys in Ethiopia, so I thought it would be a good time to ask you to pray for them.

In case you didn’t know, this is the first year we’ve run our Authentic Masculinity Program in the nation of Ethiopia. It’s been a long time coming! At the beginning of Phase 1, we had 10 men who wanted to go through the program. The 12-weeks has run its course, and we now have 7 men who have met the requirements to graduate to Phase 2.

Phase 1 is all about biblical manhood. Phase 2 is all about income generating activities and business development. I was on a video chat with our partners in Ethiopia last week and everyone is super excited about these guys and the opportunity in front of them. I was reviewing their profiles again late last week and was reminded of just how great a privilege it is for Man Up to partner with these men.

All of the stories have compelling elements, but I share this one as an example, in his own words:

This man – we’ll call “Meta” – has had the deck stacked against him most his life. But his faith in Christ compels him to move forward. What he didn’t write in his story is that he and his wife currently stay in a 6 foot by 6 foot shack they rent for $15/mo. Lest you think this is a great deal, Meta makes about $60/mo for his job as a guard.

He and his wife are also childless, and they have asked us to pray for a child. Interestingly enough, a child would make things more difficult financially. And this is where Man Up comes in. We want to see Meta and the rest of the men in his Cohort be able to live out God’s calling in their lives as Providers. Each man has a story and included in the story is the desire to provide for their families.

Or in Meta’s case, his future family.

Would you please take a moment to pray for Meta and the other men in their Cohort for today’s #PRAY127 request? I’ve included pictures of all the men here. Thank you again for your faithfulness in praying.

By the way, if you think the men aren’t happy in the pictures below, you’re probably an American. 🙂 In Ethiopia, when important pictures are taken, they will often put on a “stern” face to show professionalism, determination, and seriousness. I assure you – they are happy to be in AMP!

Jeff Ford, CEO
Isaiah 1:17

P.S. Please pass this email on to those who might be interested in praying with us each Monday. They can sign up to receive these emails here: https://manupandgo.org/pray127.