Pursuing Manhood

So I am on a Paul Washer kick right now. If you don’t know who Paul Washer is, I recommend him. (Disclaimer: He is a bit intense. But I believe he is a true lover of Jesus, and if you stick with Pastor Washer, I think you will be edified and glad for it.) Just Google him. There are tons of videos and sermons from him on the world wide internet. A lot of times Washer talks about authentic, Biblical, manhood, something in which I am really interested. My recent attention that I have paid to Washer has gotten me thinking lots of things about masculinity and my own claims to be a man. Also, Paul Washer recently had a heart attack in March, from what I can gather it appears he is recovering and doing okay. So let’s pray for him and his family.

Washer has stated that American men, “live in a culture that wants to keep you a boy until you are about 35.” I think he is right. Our culture does seem to promote just staying boyish until you reach the maximum critical age where you need to get busy being mature and responsible to ensure the survival of yourself and those who depend on you. I don’t see anything in secular American culture that promotes getting boys to more quickly become mature, responsible, strong, tough, tender, caring, wise men. Instead, our culture is replete with things that keep men being boys for longer and longer. Instant availability of smart phone games, mind numbing social media posting, technology, and trinkets that are marketed as things for grown ups but are really just more sophisticated toys etc. etc.This, the “

This, the “boyification” of males who ought to be men given their age, is a relatively recent feature in our culture. It hasn’t always been this way in the USA or at least hasn’t been as universal as it is currently. For example, Johnathan Edwards started preaching when he was about 20. In the Lewis and Clark expedition, Merriweather Lewis was 30 and William Clark was 34 when they set out in 1804. Jacklyn “Jack” Lucas was 14 when he enlisted in the Marine Corps and was 17 when he performed actions in the Battle of Iwo Jima for which he would later be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. John Piper was 34 when he became pastor at Bethlehem Church. My own dad, John, was operating bulldozers and heavy equipment from an age which he can’t remember but was formally employed in such work at 18. I believe I am in very good company in making this observation. I am by no means the first or even close to the first person to make it. Paul Washer, John Piper, Tom Harcus and lots of others have spoken well and at length about this phenomenon.

I believe I am in very good company in making this observation. I am by no means the first or even close to the first person to make it. Paul Washer, John Piper, Tom Harcus and lots of others have spoken well and at length about this phenomenon.I am 31. I am

I am 31. I am now and have been for a considerable amount of time, acutely aware of my own need to grow up and be more of a true, humble, strong, conviction filled, loving man who does things for the benefit of other people. I think about the men in the above paragraph and I can not help but compare myself to them. When I was 21 I didn’t know how to do anything. I couldn’t open the hood of my car. If I ever did, I couldn’t find the hood prop to keep it up. At 21, Jack Lucas had already fought in Iwo Jima. At 21 Johnathan Edwards was leading believers and teaching them from God’s word. At 20 Merriwether Lewis was in the Army. William Clark did the same at 19. In his 20s John Piper was on his way to becoming a pastor.

The Bible is filled with exhortations and encouragements for men:

Joshua 1:9- (spoken to Joshua) “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

1 Corinthians 16:13- Be on your guard stand firm in the faith be men of courage be strong

Ephesians 6:4 – Fathers do not exasperate your children instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord

Colossians 3:21 – Fathers, do not embitter your children or they will become discouraged.

1 Timothy 2:8 – I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer without anger or disputing.

1 Timothy 6:11 – …pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

So from these verses alone, and they are certainly not exhaustive of verses directed towards men in the Bible, one can see that a man is to be: loving, courageous, strong, gentle, prayerful, righteous, godly, filled with faith, and enduring. One sees also that men are to lead and train their children but be patient with them and not discourage them. They are to not passively ABSORB noble traits but rather PURSUE righteousness and other virtues. Men are meant to pray and be concerned for others. They are meant to stand firm for the Gospel and not be flimsy in their convictions for Jesus. Men are not to give in to fear but rather be carried by an unshakable hope in God.

You can’t be these things or do these things if you are addicted to Facebook. You can’t do this if you post selfies 5 times a day. You can’t become a real man if you spend 10 minutes trying to decide what filter to use on your photos. One can’t be a strong effective man if he wastes tons of time playing games on his phone.

So by the grace and love of God, I am not downcast and in a puddle of self-pity and self-condemnation. Instead, I sense a full head of steam welling up in me to propel me to pursue becoming this way. I desire to avail myself to the Holy Spirit so I can, through His power, pursue these things so that I become a man who is a blessing to others. I desire to fight my flesh and my propensity to waste time. I want to commit to not wasting time playing like a boy playing games on my phone, accumulating toys, watching TV, staring at the internet and staring at social media.

I do not think I am alone in this. I believe there are thousands of men just like me who sense their need to pursue manhood with vigor and conviction. I encourage anyone reading this to join me in this pursuit and to apply themselves to living a life that matters for things that are truly important. I exhort them to analyze the endeavors of their lives and ask, “What is this accomplishing for my children? What is this accomplishing for my wife? What is this accomplishing for lost people? What is this accomplishing for the church?”

So take these words from one overgrown boy who wants to be a man and join the struggle. God is with us, and He has given us everything we need for life and godliness. We can be made more into the image of the greatest Man who ever lived, Jesus. There is none superior to Him, and he promises to make us like Him and conform us to Him. He promises to work in us what He alone can accomplish.

God is awesome.

-Jason Faircloth, Director of Mission Advancement

Two Years with GEM

I leave Mexico to move back to the United States in a couple weeks and I have so many emotions stirring within me. I’m in a tension of being overjoyed at the thought of getting married in 2 months and then deep sadness to say goodbye to Mexico. God has made Puerto Escondido a home and the people that fill it, family.

In moments I take to be still and reflect, God’s faithfulness overwhelms me. I could write a list and never stop over the ways that God has been faithful in the last two years here. In the relationships he has blessed me with, the way He has sustained and grown Brett and I, the way He has given me the skills, wisdom, and strength to teach on the hard days. The ways He has protected the school and given it incredible growth. He has provided the most quality people to teach at the school. I could go on. It is so humbling to reflect on the faithfulness of God because it shows you His sovereignty and proves true that all is for His glory.

When I moved to Mexico, I was excited but I was honestly asking God how I was going to love these kids well. I had been working with children the entire year before and it was a struggle to enjoy it. God had gifted me with being around children and relating to them, but I did not love it.

As I moved here, I compared myself with the o I was working with who had a real passion for teaching and a passion for children. I would have days where I had no desire to be at school. Through the struggle, I heard God whispering, “keep going.” God was doing a work and it is only now at the end of my two years teaching that I can look back and be amazed by what God has done.

God has let me enter into the cares and depths of His heart. As you seek the Lord, He transforms your heart! My expectation coming here was that I would fall in love with teaching and with children. Instead, I have fallen in love with Jesus. I have joy to wake up and go to school now because I know that I will meet Jesus there. Children are a gift from the Lord and they are made in His image. Getting to spend all of my days with them is incredible. I have not only learned most of my Spanish from these cuties, but I have learned unconditional, pure love.

And teaching them is now something I enjoy because God has opened my eyes to the opportunity and the mission. He has crushed my pride that said, “You do not have the passion and skills to be a teacher.” He has replaced that with, “My love is better than life and you get to show these children that.”

Now I do not have to strive after attaining some joy, passion, or skill because when seeking the Lord, He gives me everything I need to do whatever it is He has. He doesn’t only give us the strength, but He gives us His joy, peace, patience, all of it. I can truly say that I love teaching at Manantial because the love of Jesus has overcome.

I’m amazed. And I will carry this into this next season. I feel so comforted and secure because I know that wherever the Lord leads me, whether it’s into a job where I feel completely inadequate or into a circumstance where I do not feel fit to be in, He will meet me there and He will overcome every expectation and every fear. His love is truly better than life!

Over the last two years, in many of the seasons that have come, I have prayed that these verses would be true over my life, and God has and is faithfully making it so.

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63: 1-8

Annie Hindin, GEM Missionary

The Works of God

Last July, our family of seven moved to Mexico to join Global Education Ministries as overseas missionaries at the Manantial School. We became immersed in a culture that was so foreign to us that it left us clawing for some form of familiarity and identity. Our response to this feeling was to get to “work”.

We sought to make things happen that were not yet ready to happen. We would overreach our mandate, attempt a shallow form of evangelism, or try to perfect some part of our jobs. The level of activity was extremely pressured and I felt manic…wanting to see everything happen NOW. Praise God He didn’t let us stay there long.

My wife suddenly got shingles on her face, and this sickness led to some of the hardest weeks of our lives. All of our work and striving came to a screeching halt for two full weeks, while my wife was bedridden. I mostly stayed home and cared for her and the children. It forced me to pray constantly and to begin calling upon God more fully.

I would equate this time in our lives to a car getting four simultaneous flat tires right as it hit the gas to plunge over a huge cliff. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that this trial would save us before we could wreck everything. This situation, along with several other exceedingly difficult trials to follow, began new humbling in our hearts.

In the midst of the suffering and difficulty, God gave me a treasure of a verse to help me through, even as I thought I was doing “God’s work” as a missionary going 90 miles an hour to press “His” agenda. In the gospel of John, right after Jesus fed 5000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish and then walked on water, Jesus explains that He is the bread of life. At this point, Jesus really has the ear of the disciples after what they have witnessed. The disciples, who are completely intrigued by this miracle man, ask Jesus this question, “What must we do to be doing the works of God?” And Jesus answered them, “this is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

This verse put me right in my place. I had been seeking to “do” the work of God, but I was not resting and believing. On the surface, I would have told you I believed more strongly than before, but I deceived myself and believed a lie. A dominant thought current running through many of us Christians is that the more we DO God’s work, the more loved we are….that somehow we can earn God’s love and favor.

99% of evangelical pastors, leaders, and missionaries would agree that we can’t earn God’s love…but it’s a different thing to think something than to live and rest in it.   Our human drift is towards capitalism, whereby we seek to achieve, succeed or win with relationships or the market for our purposes, comfort, or increase.

Do you strive to make things right? Do you work tirelessly to be the cause of the desired fruitfulness in your life? Do you try hard to escape the suffering you so fear? OR…Do you, at your core, rest in the finished work of Christ on the cross. Do you, at your core, know that your human efforts are spiritually fruitless? Do you, at your core, see suffering as the means by which you are cleansed, disciplined, and crafted into His image?

Do not work for the food, results, status, or material that perishes, but believe in Jesus who God sent to free you and give you all that you will ever need in Him. See what happens when you are transformed to let your work be to believe. Let your new sweat be envisioning what Godly result you want for your friends in His name. Let your new mission be to cry out to Him, in belief for your family’s deliverance.   Let your new craft be to ask and believe God for business effectiveness, gospel witness, and a prosperous rejoicing in His name. Let your new trade be to believe in God’s promises for your church by seeing Jesus lifted up and your members unified, sanctified, and witnessing to the power of the gospel.

When you find yourself looking to yourself for effectiveness, change this focus into examining yourself solely to see how you and your thoughts are hindering belief in what was accomplished at the cross and then agree to simply rest in that finished work. Do you believe it is finished? Rest and pray. He is faithful. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24

704631_10207139802147916_4018787005924459280_oRob and his wife, Mauri, were married in 2004 and have been blessed with 5 children (2 biological and 3 adopted). Rob has a Master of Education degree in Counseling and Development from Winthrop University. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor, who also has many years experience teaching children of all ages. Rob is currently serving as the 7th grade Bible teacher and School Counselor at The Manantial School in Mexico. 

Follow me

One gift of a Monday with no school, thank you Mexican Independence Day, I met with a friend for a run on the beach. With the sun on our backs and the sand sliding into our shoes, the miles and conversation passed quickly. We arrived to our destination, catching our breaths in a shady area. The ocean was filled with surfboards and tourists, and we watched as joyous and shaky riders conquered waves and face planted into others. Yet always willing to paddle back out and try again.

I’m sure many messages have been and could be written about the connections between surfers and following Jesus. The unknown of the waters, the determination and ability to take risks…but, I’m not going to talk about those topics. For off to our other side were 5 men. Five men that had nets, simple clothes, and no shoes. Fishermen.

I’ve never had much interest in fishing. After seeing a hook get stuck in the palm of my big brother’s hand, I stayed away from the sport. If I’m honest, maybe I just don’t have the patience. Regardless of the reason, I had never really watched the process. I was mesmerized as the men worked together, casting out the net, pulling it in, each with his own purpose (one seemed to simply keep the others laughing).

We watched them pull in a big load, the birds loudly protesting from above, and my friend turned to me and made an unforgettable observation, “Just imagine Jesus walking up to these men and saying Follow Me.” And I realized that I had never truly paid attention to that part of Scripture. I always took for granted that of course they would follow Jesus. Of course, they would understand what was to take place by leaving everything to follow Him. But they didn’t.

So, I thought about what that meant for them to leave their nets. In Matthew 4:19 it says that Jesus simply states, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” He doesn’t say, “Don’t worry, you will always have enough to eat” or “With me you will see amazing things of God.” Jesus only says, “Follow me.” He doesn’t entice us with beautiful views, delicious food, or amazing coworkers. He just wants us to follow Him.

I will never forget a quote which states, “When you delay obedience, doubt and excuses creep in.” For the next verse says, “At once they left their nets and followed Him.” They were the first ones. They didn’t have the gift of seeing others already following Jesus. They didn’t read books about missionaries or watch inspirational movies. They heard His call and simply obeyed. And I think in many ways if God did show us His plans…well, in our humanness, we would freak out a little bit. So, in His graciousness, He shows us one step at a time. One day at a time. One moment at a time.

IMG_6744Sarah Quigg is serving her second year at our school in Mexico as the 5th-grade teacher. We are so blessed to have her on our team, and our students are INCREDIBLY blessed by her God-given talent for teaching and loving them so well.



I am reading a book right now called Humility by Andrew Murray. I am being profoundly affected by it. As I read it, I am simultaneously encouraged and convicted. Inspired and indicted.

Let me quote a few lines from Mr. Murray:

Let us…admit that there is nothing so natural to man, nothing so insidious and hidden from our sight, nothing so difficult and dangerous as pride. Let us feel that nothing but a very determined and preserving waiting on God and Christ will discover how lacking we are in the grace of humility, and how impotent to obtain what we seek. Let us study the character of Christ until our souls are filled with the love and admiration of His lowliness. And let us believe that, when we are broken down under a sense of our pride, and our impotence to cast it out, Jesus Christ Himself will come to impart this grace too, as a part of His wondrous life within us.”

Pride is “insidious.” It is absolutely the default nature of man to be self-exalting and self-focused. We are helpless to be rid of this impulse on our own. Then he says,

We need to know well the Second Adam and His power to give within us a life of humility as REAL and abiding and OVERMASTERING as has been that of pride.”

This book is saturated with statements like this. One of the chief concepts that Murray seeks to promote in his book is that humility is one of the most distinguishing and important characteristics of our Savior, God the Son, Jesus. He maintains that humility is of an importance to us that cannot be overstated but yet it is very rarely actively sought out to be cultivated. I, as do many, energetically and enthusiastically agree with Murray.


I have said that I feel indicted by Murray’s words in Humility. I am indicted on the grounds that I am personally guilty of what he describes as the chief problem of man: pride. My initial, unfiltered, hidden, and secret mental reaction to being overlooked or forgotten is one of annoyance and disappointment. I find fault when someone else’s idea gets carried out and not mine. Instead of being overjoyed at the success and fruitfulness in my friend’s life I want to know, “Why not me?”. My battle and struggle with pride is a daily one, no an hourly one. As I’m sure yours is as well. I read Murray’s words about pride and its offensive heinousness to our God and I know I am reading a description of my own deeds. He says things like this:

Let (the reader) consider how all want of love, all indifference to the needs, the feelings, the weaknesses of others, all sharp and hasty utterances and judgments, so often excused under the plea of being outright and honest; all manifestations of temper and touchiness and irritation; all feelings of bitterness and estrangement, have their root in nothing but pride that ever seeks itself….”


But by the grace of God, as often as I am indicted in my reading of this valuable book, I am inspired! Thank you Jesus! There is hope for me! There is hope for you! Murray talks about how humility is to be the chief thing that we seek as believers, for from it springs all other good behaviors, attitudes, ideas, thoughts, feelings, impulses, habits and words! Our main problem as people before our God is our pride. Our obstinate, tenacious and determined desire to acknowledge and exalt ourselves instead of God. I read Murray’s words like this:

Our one need is to study and know and trust the life that has been revealed in Christ as the life that is now OURS and waits for our consent to gain POSSESSION and MASTERY of our whole being.”

Since I have been crucified with Jesus and HE now lives in me (Galatians 2:20) the life of Jesus is now MY life. That is true about me! That is true about me in SPITE of my failings! I want Jesus’ life to come out and be seen in MY actions and MY behaviors more and more! I want to be MASTERED by Jesus more and MORE! I want to be more like Him and less like ME!

When I feel the reflex to want to grab for attention, I fight that with faith in the Son of God and try to give it up and give attention to someone else. When I am tempted to drop the comment that I know is bound to impress others, in my head I ask the Holy Spirit to help me keep my mouth shut. When I want to speak up for my rights and not let someone get away with being so insensitive, rude, uncaring, irresponsible for whatever they might have done to me I, in faith, try to remember Him that “…when He was insulted did not retaliate, and when He suffered, he made no threats. Instead He entrusted Himself to the one who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). These are the type of sentiments and attitudes that are being stirred within me as I read words like:

Humiliation is the only ladder to honor in God’s kingdom.”

“ Brethren, here is the path to the higher life. Down, lower down! This was what Jesus ever said to the disciples who were thinking of being great in the kingdom, and of sitting on His right and His left. Seek not, ask not for exaltation; that is God’s work.”

I am given great hope as I read this book. I highly recommend it to all. It gives me great peace and comfort to know that I am not the one who can work humility in myself. It is in my realization of the impossibility to do this that the lowliness is brought about. Jesus brings it about. My life in Him began because of His work. It will continue because of His work. And He will finish it.

Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 2:13 “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose”

Philippians 2: 5-8 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross!”

IMG_1549Jason Faircloth currently teaches 3rd grade at the Manantial School in Puerto Escondido. He is also the director of our Primary School. Jason and his wife, Kate, and son, Abraham, have lived in Puerto Escondido for almost 4 years now serving with Global Education Ministries. 

A Life That Demands A Gospel Explanation

About two years ago, God used a simple question to revolutionize how I desired to live: “Do you live in such a way that demands a Gospel explanation?” – Jeff Vanderstelt.

This question led me to reflect on my life up until that point. Did my words or actions demand a Jesus explanation? In other words, when people looked at my life, did it look like the rest of the world, or did my life reflect the radical love and joy that is found in Jesus?

This is an excellent question for all of us to ponder: Does the way I live demand a Gospel explanation? When people look at our life, do they see a life that conformed to the world’s ways or a life transformed through faith and obedience to Jesus?

I often ask myself – “What is the primary motivation for my life? Am I motivated by happiness, comfort, safety, material possessions or am I compelled by the command of my Lord?”

Think about this: Jesus lived a life that demanded an explanation. He claimed to be God! That’s a statement that demands some kind of explanation. His life did not make sense to this world and neither should ours. His life, death, and resurrection demands an explanation. Either he was who he said he was, or it was all a lie.

So what does all of this mean for us? In order to know how to live, we must learn from Jesus.

Jesus, Our Perfect Example.

“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:6-8.

If we endeavor to live our lives in such a way as to demand a gospel explanation, the first place to start is to look to Jesus. He sets the pace for us.

From the very beginning, he came to earth understanding that His mission was all about obedience to His father. He knew that he was going to be arrested, tortured, and persecuted (Matthew 26:56) to fulfill the scriptures. Because sin had entered the world, God sent His son so that we could live in the freedom of His grace. He came caring the burden of humanity’s sin to the cross so that all people have the ability to know the freedom found in Christ. He came with no purpose of His own; rather, He came to serve us that we could have life (Mark 10:45).

His entire life was lived to bring glory to his father and to provide freedom for all of humanity. Jesus, fully human and fully God, lived a perfect life not on His on will, but on the will of His Father (John 6:38) He is the perfect example for us. Not only did Jesus claim to have all authority (Matthew 28:18), his life revealed this to be true. His life and ministry was spent in submission to the Father ultimately so that all humanity could have life through his death and resurrection.

Just as Jesus did, we are called to reorient our lives around God our Father. We are to act and live in the same way as His example for us.

Servants of Jesus: A Gospel-Sent People
“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” – John 20:21-22

Jesus did not only send his disciples. Jesus did not only send pastors, church leaders, deacons, the more spiritual people, or missionaries. Jesus sent every person regardless of race, color, gender, or economic status. Not only has He sent us, but He has sent us with the Holy Spirit to guide us into all of life. We are a people sent with the good news of the Gospel to proclaim Him all over the world.

Because Jesus is our perfect example of a servant, we serve in the same way. We don’t serve others to get recognition, but we serve to make much of Jesus in our lives. We don’t need the approval of man, because God has already approved us as his righteous children. Therefore, we serve as people who are free.
1 Peter 2:16 tells us, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”

Our motivation comes from what we have received in Jesus. We can love unconditionally because we have been loved much. So how do we apply this to our lives?

Prayerful Application
How do we live such a way that demands a Gospel explanation? In other words, how can we live that would lead people to wonder what is different about our lives?
I want to give 3 practical ways that will lead us to live out our identity as dearly loved children who live in the joy and freedom of Christ.

1. Head: Remind yourself of the incredible gift of God’s grace that you have received every day. Preach it to yourself, and meditate on the truth of the Gospel early in the morning and before you go to sleep. Let it be in your mind all day.

2. Heart: Pray and ask God to let these truths you are meditating on sink into your heart. Jesus said to ask Him what we need in His name and He will give it. Give thanks to Jesus daily for the cross and the freedom we have in His grace. Think about your time before Christ and how He has radically changed your desires and have given you a hope that will never fail.

3. Hands: The scripture teaches that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. As we begin to meditate the truths of the Gospel, the truths will sink into our heart and overflow into action. Peter and John said, “For we cannot stop speaking about all we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20), referring to the power of the Gospel to transform lives. They were so passionate about Jesus that they couldn’t stop talking about it.

It is impossible to live a life the demands a Gospel explanation without the Spirit at work in our lives. As we strive to live in obedience to Jesus, may we never stop meditating on the truth of the Gospel and praying for these truths to continually transform our hearts to action.

danielDaniel Mcdonald graduated from Liberty University with a B.S. in Communication (2011) and a Master’s of Divinity in Evangelism and Church Planting (2014). He is serving as the Director of Communication for GEM, while his wife, Kristen, serves as the 4th-grade teacher.  Above all, they desire to make disciples by making Jesus known in Puerto and around the world.