As is tradition, at the start of every new semester of our classic training at Ellerslie (the ministry I lead in Windsor, Colorado) I gather all the men attending the upcoming semester onto the Chapel stage.
It’s time for the “Man Talk” with Eric.
All the men, young and old, are dressed up in suit coats and ties. Our shoes are polished, our hearts stirred with anticipation, and the occasional bead of sweat can be spied slowly dripping down the forehead of one of the men. The atmosphere in the Chapel is sparkling, even regal — bursting with expectancy. The tables are set for our opening night banquet while the flicker of candlelight shimmers enthusiastically about the decorated room.
When all the men arrive onto the stage, I look each one in the eye, then clear my throat and begin.
“Men,” I say in a serious, grave tone. “You have entered an environment that demands you behave as men. This is not a place for boys. This is not a place for perverts, egotists, fools, and rebels. This is a place that celebrates the dignity and nobility of manhood.”
I can visibly see the discomfort in many of the men’s eyes. I’m only starting my fourth sentence of the semester and yet I can perceive that some of these men are already wondering if they are supposed to be here.
“If you are planning on spending a season here on this campus,” I say, “then you will spend that season behaving as men. Men of honor. Men of purity. Men of Truth. Men of holiness. Men of humility. Men of courage. Men of God!”
Every Man Talk is a bit different. But all carry the same soul searching thunderous commission to rise up and behave as men.
Paul had a Man Talk, of sorts, with the church in the ancient city of Corinth. I must admit, that his particular Man Talk was a bit shorter than mine. In fact, he packaged his Man Talk into one very pithy word. He simply growled the word, “Andrizomai!”
If someone said andrizomai to you, you might simply shrug your shoulders and say, “Gesundheit!” After all, the word doesn’t hold meaning to you, and sounds more like a terrible sneeze than anything else.
But the church in Corinth knew the strong and historic commission that Paul was issuing with that one singular word. Paul was pressing the ancient words of Moses into their soul. These were the same words, now translated into the Koine Greek, that were originally passed on to Joshua, then passed on to David, then passed on to Solomon, and passed along through Jewish history 1,000 years until they reached Jesus Himself, who passed them on to Peter, James, John and the rest of His disciples. And now here is Paul walking in this ancient tradition, passing these words of forked-lightning on to the namby-pamby Corinthian church. And what amazes me is that after two thousand years, somehow here in the present day, that same powerful word of ancient Israel is being passed along to you and to me.
Andrizomai! (pronounced – an-drid’-zom-ahee)
Moses, when he gave his manly commission to Joshua, to be strong and of good courage, shouted two words, “Chazak” and “Amats.” But when translated into Koine Greek, those two ancient Hebrew words of manly gusto got packaged into one singular word of thunder and lightning . . . Andrizomai!
Simply put, Moses said to Joshua: “Be a man! Do your job manfully! Behave with the courage of a real honest-to-goodness man of God! Go! Do valiantly!”
Joshua then said to the men of Israel as they prepared to set out to conquer the nations of the giants, “Be men! March forward manfully! Behave with the guts and determination resident to true honest-to-goodness men that believe in God Almighty! Go! Be fearless in the face of the giants!”
This ancient Man Talk got passed down through the ages. Typically, this ancient combination of two Hebrew words, Chazak + Amats, were repeated amongst the Jews simply through the emotion-infused phrase of “Rak Chazak!” And those two words spoken, even whispered, were enough to cause a Jewish soldier’s knuckles to turn white with manly purpose, his throat to let out a guttural war cry of determination, and his soul to grip its iron will and pull it from the scabbard.
But as Paul took up his pen, pondered the present weakness of the Corinthian church, and yearned to see the manfulness of the people of God return full force, he took the burning Hebrew phrase of Rak Chazak and packaged all its grandeur, glory, power, and purpose into one singular Greek word. He shouted to Corinth, “Andrizomai!”
There is a shortage of Man Talks going around today. What used to be dished from father to son, father to son, and then father to son throughout the flow of generations is now . . . uh . . . not. The sacred chain seems to have been broken. Most fathers today were never given the Man Talk by their fathers, and therefore, they struggle to deliver it to their sons. There is a strange paralysis that stymies us as men.
I have a very strong desire to see the formation of strong and godly men in this generation. I want to see an end of chocolate soldiers (those who melt when the heat turns up) and see the arrival of honorable men (those who stand up for Truth in a time when a culture kowtows for correctness).
God’s men have the thunder clap of Andrizomai! always booming within their souls. Rak Chazak infuses their thoughts, their actions, their attitudes, and their every plan and design. They are purposely strong, purposely courageous, and purposely brave. They don’t accidentally do what they do. They do what they do because it’s the “manful” thing to do. Or, as the Christian would understand, they do it because it is the “Jesus” thing to do. It’s the way that The Man would do it.
The Man, Jesus, showed us manful living. He lived life with the gusto of love and faced death with the grandeur of courage. He boldly took the lowest seat and humbly served those around Him. He suffered every indignity that others may receive deliverance. He sacrificed His very life to ensure life for others. He was the epitome of that which makes a man manful.
So, imagine yourself at Ellerslie and in the flickering candlelight of the decorated chapel. It’s banquet night and anticipation is hanging in the air like a dense cloud of glory.
Imagine that you are on the Ellerslie Chapel stage with fifty other men. But instead of measly old Eric Ludy walking up onto the stage to address you, imagine that it is Jesus Christ Himself who strolls up onto the stage and stands before the onlooking, awestruck men.
Imagine that His voice is serious and grave. And out of all the fifty men standing there beside you, He singles you out. He says, “You!” With a bit of panicky shock in your voice, you respond, “Me?” “Yes,” He responds gently as He affectionately enunciates your name. “Come forward!” As you walk forward, your legs feel like Jell-O and your heart is beating every sane thought out of your head. As you position yourself in front of the Risen King of Kings, He tenderly looks you in the eye and says, “Dear one, it’s time for you to become a man!”
Now imagine you were to say, “Yes, Lord, I agree wholeheartedly!”
You were called to live manfully just as The Man, Jesus, did while He was here on this earth. You were called to live with the thunder of Andrizomai in your heart just as Moses, Joshua, David, Peter, James, John, and Paul did in their day. You were called to have the war cry of Rak Chazak in your chest, Holy Spirit thunder in your soul’s fists, and nuclear propulsion in your spiritual heels. You were called to live manfully — to do the work of The Man.
Imagine that this isn’t your imagination, but it is very real. And God is saying this to you right now. He’s beckoning you to take a step forward in being made into a real honest-to-goodness man of God.
If you are game, I know for certain He is.
Let’s do this thing!
– My Honorable Manhood training program kicks off March 1, 2020. Learn more + register here.