How To Handle Online Criticism: Getting Ripped

I recently got ripped for a blog post. I didn't mind (this time), but when someone goes off on us it raises many questions:

Why does he or she feel the need to say this? What is he feeling? What is she thinking? What is the problem they are trying to solve?

Is their critique fair? Or is it negative? Or fair but too much of a pile on? And is it fair to criticize a single blog or Facebook post in isolation without considering everything else you have said in context? And then there are the differences in personality and temperament. For example, is it fair for someone who wants a mathematical answer to criticize a poet’s approach because he is not also a mathematician?

Frankly, I could probably crush this and other criticisms with a sharp retort. I could adroitly impale my critics with their own pens. I could coherently point out how this person has criticized me not for what I "did" write, but because I didn’t write the article they "wish" I would’ve written. I could handily explain that it's not fair to evaluate a post without considering the intentions of the poster.

However, I can also meditate on how Jesus was criticized, falsely accused, persecuted, even laughed at, and yet he did not respond in kind. And I can wonder how he would respond. 

Has a judgment of charity been extended to me? No. Is this person treating me the way that he would want to be treated? No.

But the more important question is, will I respond by treating him the way that I want to be treated?

So by faith I choose to love this person not in spite of who they are, but because of whose I am. 

And I’m praying I will still feel the same way in 10 minutes.

Which Is Harder (Or Easier) To Believe?

Which is more believable? That from nothing a microscopic piece of inert matter “appeared” that contained within itself the power to suddenly detonate and expand its mass into a cosmos of hundreds of billions of galaxies which developed its own intelligence, gave itself life, reproduced into millions of life forms that feel and express love toward others, hunger, thirst, suffer pain and share the sufferings of others in pain, yearn for a sense of meaning and purpose, and crave to make a difference and leave the world a better place.

Or, that this wonderful world is the work of a pre-existing self-existent being of unimaginable and incomprehensible size, intelligence, and power. 

Even apart from the Christianity in which I do believe, it’s hard to imagine conceiving any belief system in which I would ever be less than a deist. If all we see did start with a Big Bang, how did it go bang?

What's The Best Way To Get Men Excited To Tell Other Men About Jesus?

All men want to tell other men about what excites them—from how great their favorite football team is doing this year to a new restaurant they just discovered. 

So what’s the best way to get men excited to tell other men about Jesus?

One approach is to explain—perhaps with great enthusiasm—just how important it is to tell people about Jesus. That would be the “because it is our sacred  duty, obligation, and privilege” approach. Or for short, the “beg” approach. 

But on the rare occasion when this approach does work, whatever got the man all “worked up” inevitably wear off, and usually within a few hours or, at most, a few days.

A better approach is to simply, repeatedly, and constantly help men more fully see just how wonderful Jesus is. The more a man knows about Jesus, the more excited he will become. 

Then, out of the overflow of his growing enthusiasm and love for Jesus, he will naturally be excited to tell other men about his new discoveries. “I can’t wait to tell Bryan about this.“

And he will share with Bryan without anyone having to beg—as though he would be doing God a favor.

There Will Never Be a Wall Against Spiritual Immigration

A man said to my Christian friend, “I could never become a Christian because I would have to give up beer and cigarettes.“ That’s what he had been led to believe. My friend answered to his surprise, “I smoke all the beer and cigarettes I want.“

We build many such “unsanctioned” walls that keep spiritual immigrants out of Christ’s kingdom. Humans have always been prone to over-protect the borders to the gospel of Jesus. Understandable.

But apparently Christ doesn’t want us to build a wall. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-27).

“Belief” is not a formula. It’s something that happens inside of us. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart“ (1 Samuel 16:7).

There is no “magic” combination of words. You don’t have to “repeat this (specific) prayer” or include (or avoid) certain “key words.” There is no pledge of allegiance to memorize. No salute.

You don’t have to behave in a particular way to “prepare yourself.” Or give up beer and cigarettes—or any other behavior. There is no “probation period” for eternal life—before or after our border crossing.

Instead, the moment when we realize, “What have I got to lose?” and believe in Jesus, we find ourselves “in country.” There is no wall to scale. The border into the kingdom of Jesus is completely porous.

The Power of Praying For Other Men

One day I met Doug Coe, the influential behind-the-scenes leader of The Fellowship, host of the annual National Prayer Breakfast. I had been a Christian for twenty years, was forty three years old, and was an emerging Christian leader. Coe astonished me when he said, “I’ve been praying for you, that you would have…

the vision of Paul,

the patience of Job,

the loving-kindness of Jonathan,

the faith of Abraham,

the boldness of Peter,

the temperance of Daniel,

the gentleness of Moses,

and the love of Jesus Christ.”

I was so moved that I asked him to repeat it slowly enough so I could write down what he said—I’m looking at that piece of paper as I write.

The impression has been enduring. Today I pray for other men all the time.

What Can We Do When We Feel Disrespected?

The “Presenting” Problem

Nothing will put us in a funk faster than dwelling on how we’ve been slighted, whether real or perceived. Pro athletes call it being disrespected. Little children don’t have a word for it yet. 

The closer the person is to us, the more painful the slight feels. For example, the driver who dives into that small space between you and the car in front of you and then taps the brakes is a mosquito bite (although the venom can accumulate over the years). But to work for a boss who doesn’t appreciate your work can feel more like a saber slashing at the core of who you are. And a family member or close friend who never seems to initiate or offer you encouragement can dig a hole in your soul that fills back up with a strong resentment and bitterness. 

The “Real” Problem

One day recently I was mired in the problem—feeling slighted. Once there, things quickly escalated. Many other grievances I’ve had against others, all of which I thought were forgiven and forgotten, came flooding back into my mind.

The next morning I brought myself through prayer into the presence of Jesus. Once there, I was reminded (yet again) that we are all like sheep who stray. I have grievances against you, but you have just as many grievances against me—probably more. You have slighted me, but I have slighted you.

Here’s the real problem: we are not in this against each other, we are in this together. That’s why I need to give you more grace—in the same way that Jesus gives me so much grace. 

The Solution

Instead of adjudicating our slights against each other, let’s open our eyes and see that we are all sheep in the same pasture. And we can trust our Shepherd sees what’s going on and will smooth things out between us—always if we ask for help, and almost always even when we don’t. 

Of course, the timing may be different than we would like. God has an altogether different way of looking at time than we do. “With the Lord a day is like 1000 years, and 1000 years is like a day.”

This is the way of the gospel of Jesus. It’s a better way. In fact, it is the only way real way to lasting peace and reconciliation with each other.

Now, if I can just remember this the next time I feel the funk coming on.

What Great Leaders Are Like And How To Be One

What makes a man a great leader?  Every now and then God calls a man to a task so big that few can equal the challenge. Above all else, these men are visionary. They see the world not so much as it is, but how it could be. They leave a crater, while at the same time making the world spin a little smoother. What makes these men tick? And importantly, how can you be one too? Here's an acrostic using the word "visionaries" to help you think through many of the most important attributes you will want to develop if you want to be not just good leader, but a great one.

Vision—More than anything else, great leaders are propelled by great dreams. They’re pulled along by the grip of destiny. Invariably, the force of their personalities pull us along with them.

Innovation—Great leaders give the world “ideas” that change the existing order. They exude creativity and imagination. They embrace an uncertain future.

Sacrifice—Great leaders deny themselves for a greater good.  They’re so committed to their cause that they are willing to risk rejection.

Integrity—At their core great leaders have unwavering character.  A handshake still means everything to them.  This inspires confidence.

Optimism—Great leaders possess a passion that touches that noble impulse in each of us. They inspire us to want to be part of something bigger than ourselves.

Never Give Up—Great leaders display unwavering belief in their mission.  Against all odds they show tenacity, perseverance, and faithfulness to their call. Their motivation rests on deeply held principles, not opinion polls.

Ability—Great leaders possess special abilities.  They are men of skill—whether inventor, philosopher, theologian, scientist, artist, writer, poet, or preacher. They possess innate intelligence.

Relate to Others—Great leaders have empathy and love for people.  Their people skills include compassion, and listening. They relate to people from all walks of life.

Improbability—Great leaders never think they are. They are marked by a profound humility.  The world would not pick them. And if in their own lifetimes they become great, they are the last ones to know.

Excellence—Great leaders demand excellence from themselves, which spurs us to be like them. Their striving for excellence is often confused with perfectionism. 

Servant of Others—Great leaders are first Godly men. Great Christian men do what they do to bring glory to God. They exist to serve their God by loving and serving others.


6 Ways To Understand the Most Misunderstood Man Who Ever Lived

If asked, “Who is the most misunderstood man who ever lived?” many would answer, “Jesus Christ.“

But what if you were asked, “Who is the most understood man who ever lived?” the answer would still be, “Jesus Christ.” How can someone move from misunderstanding to understanding Jesus Christ? Here are 6 ways Jesus described himself...

1. Here’s who I am: John 10:30, John 14:6, 9

2. Here’s how I feel about you: Matthew 9:36

3. Here is why I came: Luke 19:10, John 3:16

4. Here’s what I want you to be like: Matthew 7:12, John 13:34-35

5. Here’s what I want you to do: Matthew 28:18-20

6. Here’s how I want you to respond: Matthew 11:28-30

What Does It Mean To Be a Disciple of Jesus?

The Greek word “disciple“ literally means “pupil” or “learner.” When used in conjunction with Jesus, the term disciple came to mean an adherent to the person and teachings of Jesus. What does that look like on the ground? Here’s a great 3-prong definition we use at Man in the Mirror. We like this so much because the terminology comes straight from the Bible, so can be used across all traditions.

A disciple is...

1. “Called” to live in Christ


2. “Equipped” to live like Christ and


3. “Sent” to live for Christ

(love and deeds)

Christianity Gets Top Rating For Being Inclusive 

Whether you are European, African, Asian, Latino, black, white, brown, red, yellow, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, Catholic, atheist, agnostic, rich, poor, weak, strong, felon, gay, straight, single, married, divorced, literate, or illiterate, you are invited. Christianity is the biggest of the big tents. 

No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, no matter where you live, Jesus would love for you to become his follower. Many millions do just that every year. No religion is more inclusive than Christianity. 

That’s because all other religions are based on performance. In other words, you have to do something in order to make God happy—or avoid his wrath. They are “exclusive.”

But Christianity is not based on performance. In fact, it’s actually based on making an admission that we are “not” good enough – that we can’t perform. And it’s on just that point – that we can’t “earn” our way in – that makes Christianity the most “inclusive” religion of all. Christianity is for everyone—which may help explain why the Christian faith looks so messy and attracts so many kooks: We'll take the ones the other religions don't want.

Guest Post: Kingdom Racing Scores Huge “Off Track” Victory at Indy 500

Today's guest post comes from our friends at Kingdom Racing...

KR 1.jpg

Heartbreak! On a scorching hot day in May, barely visible through the haze of expended fuel and heat waves rising from the tarmac, a race car crawls to a complete stop just past the halfway mark of the 101st Indianapolis 500. The #24 Dreyer and Reinbold Racing/Kingdom Racing (DRR/KR) Dallara DW12 Indycar should be cruising along at over 220 miles per hour, but instead sits motionless on the apron of the 2.5 mile oval. Far off in the distance, the lone, dejected figure of driver Sage Karam slowly debarks from the cockpit. In the pit box few are speaking, holding back a whirlwind of emotions after months of hard work and preparation yields a disheartening end.

Even though the on-track race for Kingdom Racing (KR) came to a frustrating finish, there is another race off the track that holds greater significance for the Texas-based team; the race to reach souls for Jesus Christ. The 2017 edition of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing featured a media blitz with superstar Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso, who decided to participate in the Indy 500 instead of the storied Monaco Grand Prix. The fact that these two races occurred on the same day led the Andretti-McLaren-Honda team to coin the tagline, “The Race of Two Worlds.” The same phrase perfectly describes the duality of the races Kingdom Racing undertakes. While KR is a trackside partner with DRR to raise awareness for its mission of delivering God’s word through motorsports, the ministry side of KR, the Miles of Smiles outreach program, is hard at work off the tarmac. The Miles of Smiles program hosts several guests at numerous races, offering a VIP experience for those in need of a loving embrace.


Though rooted in motorsports, Miles of Smiles is so much more than a VIP experience at the track. The heart of Miles of Smiles is spreading the love and compassion of Christ by connecting with people at a spiritual level. At this year’s Indy 500, KR hosted a family who’d recently suffered the tragic loss of their son. KR founder George Del Canto told of his own loss when he shared the passing of his first wife, Marichu, to stage four brain cancer in 2008. Although complete strangers until then, the group felt each other’s pain and in those beautiful, tender moments together, wept and prayed for comfort and healing. The family loved the Indy 500 race, but the experience they may remember most is the time spent in the presence of Christ, bonding with people they barely knew.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." -Romans 12:14

As the Indycar, Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), and sprint car King of the Wing series criss-cross the country during the course of the racing year, KR can be found at different racing venues, advancing its vision of reaching one million men and women for Jesus Christ. For KR, “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us that are being saved, it is the power of God. Corinthians 1:18.”

This is the sustaining power for Kingdom Racing and, with eyes up, they continue to pursue the path that the Lord has set before them; to Victory.