…For I’m trained in the secret of overcoming all things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.—Paul. Philippians 4:12-13 [The Passion Translation].
Welcome to Wild on the Path
MEN LIVING AND LEADING THEIR FAMILIES. WILD ON A PATH OF DISCOVERING THEIR OWN WILD HEART — EXPERIENCING A LIFE OF JOY, UNTAMED PASSION, AND FREEDOM. REAL MEN WHO CREATE A SPACE WHERE THOSE THEY LOVE CAN GROW, THRIVE AND FOLLOW THEIR LEAD. JOIN THE TRIBE!
WILD ON THE PATH is a place for men to come into their own, to figure out how we are uniquely hardwired, and lead our families. It is a community of men sharing in their commonality, discovering how to live from a wild heart for God, pursuing a life of passion, adventure and freedom, walking with God on a path to become the men and leaders that He created us to be. That is to say, "Wild on the Path!" It is also a place for family and friends to help inspire the men who lead them!
We hope that you will choose to take this journey with us as not only men, but as brothers, seeking to thrive in our uniqueness on the wild path of Jesus and that you will become the leader you were intended to be!
At some point in our lives, either through disrupting circumstances or in response to the deep cry of our hearts for more, most of us come to realize that our daily lives are far away from the true desires we have deep in our hearts, and from the promise that Jesus offers from the depths of his own heart…
“I came so that they may have real and eternal life— more and better life than they ever dreamed of” (John 10:10 - MSG).
At this crucial point, in his love, God is offering us the possibility to stop, reflect, and ask the kind of questions that will help us redirect: So ask yourself..
• WHAT KIND OF LIFE AM I EXPERIENCING?
• AM I UNSATISFIED OR STUCK IN A RUT?
• WHAT KIND OF MAN HAVE I BECOME?
• DO I KNOW MY VALUE?
• WHAT KIND OF IMPACT AM I HAVING ON THOSE I LOVE?
•DO THEY RESPECT ME AND LOOK TO ME AS A LEADER?
What if there is more!— what if there is a path to experience that “life to the fullest” that Jesus talks about? What if you could live with passion, adventure and freedom, with a true sense of meaning and purpose while becoming the man God created you to be? And what if from the overflow of who you are becoming you could create an atmosphere of love, joy and peace where those you love grow and thrive under Your care?
There is a path that only gets followed by a few who are wild enough to journey on it, those who choose to walk it come to know that it leads to life well lived, but it is a process that they have submitted themselves to so that they can become that kind of man. This wild path is out there! It is available to those few willing to accept God’s invitation to be shaped, formed and forged by Him into the tribe of men He created them to be. These are men who choose to live as part of this wild tribe on the path! We invite you to join us on this wild path!
“This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16.
There are many great venues that offer individual guidence and incouragement for men and we love what many of them have to offer. That being said, some gather great followings, others enlighten and encourage, others have led to the unfortunate spiritual emasculation of men in our culture. Our purpose is to provide the Body of Christ a men’s ministry tool box that will help the churches with limited resources to develop a tribe of wild, passionate, spiritually healthy, vibrant, leaders who will become love their families, lead their communities, and take the good news of Jesus with them as He is lived out of their lives.
This is not just another focus on men’s bible study! Rather, it takes deep dives into the way God has hardwired us as men an the things that we all experience. We accept the invitation to transformed into the nature of Jesus, enjoying our union with God while banding in a tribe of men who are pursuing the very heart of God.
John and his wife Jaci have almost 40 years of ministry experience in all of the good and bad aspects of church culture. John has been a bi-vocational pastor most of that time and has been leading outward focused ministries for networking adventurer's with (The Redeemed Adventure Project). He also provides Spiritual Direction, Christian Coaching, Private Pastoral Care, and Apprenticeship Training for following Jesus at (The Soul Renovation Project). His passion for developing a tribe of wildly passionate men, who can love and lead in this culture has now become what we call (Wild on the Path). John has been training in Spiritual Direction and Christian Coaching along with receiving personal Spiritual Direction through The Soul Shepherd Institute, a Non Profit Organization that provides world wide training, education. and resources for Pastors. This training meets or exceeds the standards and requirements of the [ESDA] Evangelical Spiritual Direction Association.
John Fairrington Pastor, CSD, CCC.
Jesus HARDWIRED us to feel like him!
Every man asks the question at some point in time or another. "How was I supposed to feel?" In a culture that has emasculated men at every turn men don't really know how to act or feel. Any attempt to stand up in the way we are individually hardwired is met with resistance, wokeness, and even the deconstruction of everything we know that is considered manly. We hope that this short journal will help you determine how to better lead, serve and love in the way that Jesus hardwired us to be as men when he experienced everything that we do.
…For I’m trained in the secret of overcoming all things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.—Paul. Philippians 4:12-13 [The Passion Translation].
To become like Jesus we need to befriend his emotions. It’s important to appreciate that Jesus is a feeler who experiences and expresses deep and vivid emotions about many things in life. Too often the cultural picture painted around the nature of Jesus is docile at best. A deeper look into the feeling and emotions of Jesus that are recorded in scripture reveal that Jesus lived a wildly passionate, loving, and robust, lifestyle as a man.
Most don’t like to hear this kind of terminology in relationship to the emotions of Jesus but He truly was a was a feeler and still is! You might take issue with that statement as a man, in fact most Christian leaders today seem to. We’ve been very busy emasculating the very true nature of men as seen in the life of Jesus for quite some time in our church culture. Early in my life and even in ministry, I was discipled to disregard my emotions and soon became captive to a host of feelings and emotions that were labeled as insignificant and I was shamed as being over emotional, too sensitive. In todays culture, No adult man wants to be spanked and labeled as someone who overreacts to shame! (butt•hurt). Thus, even in matters of spirituality; if I did not comply with the religious mindset or If I rallied with empathy to those who were being who were being religiously shamed for sin; I would be spiritually emasculated, deprived of my ministry role and identity, and shamed into following the religious mindset and protocol as a young Pastor.
The truth is that Jesus felt all the struggles that we do. He was despised and rejected of men and experienced everything that we do including temptations to sin, so he empathizes with us to help us grow in emotional wholeness and holiness
Hebrews 4:15. He understands humanity, for as a man, our magnificent King-Priest was tempted in every way just as we are, and conquered sin.
If we admire and bond with Jesus the Feeler, then it will help us put more value on the emotions that we and other people have. It will encourage us to convey more emotion in our relating, praying, leading, preaching, and teaching. It will help us to clothe ourselves with the compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience of Christ and to love and lead our families and those around us.
Colossians 3:12. You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others.
Social psychology research backs this way of thinking about feelings by showing that emotional intelligence or our (EQ) is the key to success in relationships and work and it starts with a self-awareness of how we feel as individual men and women along with the understanding that Jesus felt the same things that we do.
In the Bible, Jesus demonstrates the full range of human emotions and expresses them in perfect love. We will start by identifying over 39 different emotions that Jesus experienced. That’s a lot of emotions! Personally, as men we may not be able to even name 39 different emotions, much less feel and verbalize them as easily as women might!
Note! I am not advocating that a man should go through life whining about every little thing that gets in their craw! On the other hand, the term “Man-Up” has been all too often used as an excuse to be unempathetic towards each other. As spiritually healthy men, we should be in touch with the feelings and emotions that will cause isolation, unhealthy independence, and those things that will keep us from living as a king, a leader, and a lover of our family, our community, and the world around us.
I have taken these examples from a truly important guide to my personal spiritual direction named Bill Gaultiere. Bill has grouped 39 feelings and their Bible references into eleven core emotions: anxiety, anger, shame, sadness, pain, surprise, hope, faith, love, joy, and peace. Each offers a mirror to help us to verbalize our emotions and receive Jesus’ empathy… It is also important to note that Jesus took upon Himself all of the feelings and emotions that we experience when he received 39 lashes on his back. I have highlighted more than 39 because that is just how complete the work of the Cross is! It goes far beyond any feeling or emotion that I can experience.
These are eleven emotion words that Jesus experienced, and that we also experience, they are not just emotions — they’re conditions of a whole person. They include emotions, as well as intentions, attitudes, physical states, and relational postures. (They are seen in the outflow of Jesus’ nature and character as a reference to what we experience as Christ is lived through us.)
As you consider Jesus’ 39 emotional states below, let them serve as a mirror to you. Our Lord is reflecting to us the language of feelings:
Preparing to go to the cross, Jesus prayed with such great anxiety that he sweat drops of blood
Luke 22:44. He prayed even more passionately, like one being sacrificed, until he was in such intense agony of spirit that his sweat became drops of blood, dripping onto the ground.
He also felt afraid!
Hebrews 5:7. During Christ’s days on earth he pleaded with God, praying with passion and with tearful agony that God would spare him from death. And because of his perfect devotion his prayer was answered and he was delivered.
Luke 12:50. But first I must be immersed into the baptism of God’s judgment, and I am consumed with passion as I await its fulfillment
John 11:33; 12:27 When Jesus looked at Mary and saw her weeping at his feet, and all her friends who were with her grieving, he shuddered with emotion and was deeply moved with tenderness and compassion. - “Even though I am torn within, and my soul is in turmoil, I will not ask the Father to rescue me from this hour of trial. For I have come to fulfill my purpose—to offer myself to God.
Mark 14:33. He took Peter, Jacob, and John with him. An intense feeling of great horror plunged his soul into deep sorrow. And he said to them, “My heart is overwhelmed with anguish and crushed with grief. It feels as though I’m dying. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Jesus was angry with the Pharisees who opposed him healing the man with a deformed hand on the Sabbath.
(Mark 3:5). Then looking around at everyone, Jesus was moved with indignation and grieved by the hardness of their hearts and said to the man, “Now stretch out your hand!” As he stretched out his hand, it was instantly healed.
He also felt boiling passion
(John 2:17) That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture: “I am consumed with a fiery passion to keep your house pure!”
(John 11:33, 39) When Jesus looked at Mary and saw her weeping at his feet, and all her friends who were with her grieving, he shuddered with emotion and was deeply moved with tenderness and compassion. He said to them, “Where did you bury him?”
“Lord, come with us and we’ll show you,” they replied.
Then tears streamed down Jesus’ face.
Seeing Jesus weep caused many of the mourners to say, “Look how much he loved Lazarus.” Yet others said, “Isn’t this the One who opens blind eyes? Why didn’t he do something to keep Lazarus from dying?”
Then Jesus, with intense emotions, came to the tomb—a cave with a stone placed over its entrance. Jesus told them, “Roll away the stone.”
Then Martha said, “But Lord, it’s been four days since he died—by now his body is already decomposing!”
Jesus looked at her and said, “Didn’t I tell you that if you will believe in me, you will see God unveil his power?”
He was also indignant!
(Mark 10:14-15). When Jesus saw what was happening, he became indignant with his disciples and said to them, “Let all the little children come to me and never hinder them! Don’t you know that God’s kingdom exists for such as these? Listen to the truth I speak: Whoever does not open their arms to receive God’s kingdom like a teachable child will never enter it.”
By choice, Jesus experienced a shameful death on the cross for our sins
(Hebrews 12:2). We look away from the natural realm and we focus our attention and expectation onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!
He also felt depressed
(Mark 14:33) and forsaken (Mark 15:34).
From the Mount of Olives, Jesus looked down on Jerusalem and wept with sadness because they rejected God’s offer of peace
(Luke 19:41-42). When Jesus caught sight of the city, he burst into tears with uncontrollable weeping over Jerusalem, saying, “If only you could recognize that this day peace is within your reach! But you cannot see it.
He also felt grief
(Mark 3:5), deep sighs (Mark 8:12), deep distress (Matthew 26:37), crushing grief (Mark 14:34), and tearful (John 11:35, 43).
Jesus experienced terrible pain when he was flogged.
(Mark 15:15). Because he wanted to please the people, Pilate released Barabbas to them. After he had Jesus severely beaten with a whip made of leather straps and embedded with metal, he sentenced him to be crucified.
He also suffered (Luke 24:26, Hebrews 2:18, 1 Peter 2:21), and was hungry (Matthew 4:2, 21:18), thirsty (John 19:28), and weary (John 4:6).
Jesus felt amazed by the faith of the Roman officer
(Luke 7:9). Jesus marveled at this. He turned around and said to the crowd who had followed him, “Listen, everyone! Never have I found among the people of God a man like this who believes so strongly in me.”
He also felt astonished as he prayed to his Abba about his cross (Mark 14:33).
Jesus’ love for God and us comes from his hope
(1 Corinthians 13:7 Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.
(Colossians 1:5). Your faith and love rise within you as you access all the treasures of your inheritance stored up in the heavenly realm. For the revelation of the true gospel is as real today as the day you first heard of our glorious hope, now that you have believed in the truth of the gospel.
This is the wonderful message that is being spread everywhere, powerfully changing hearts throughout the earth, just like it has changed you! Every believer of this good news bears the fruit of eternal life as they experience the reality of God’s grace.
He also felt curious (Luke 19:5).
Jesus lived by faith (confident trust) in God, showing us how to do it. (Paul says, "I live by the faith of Christ" in…
(Galatians 2:20). My old identity has been co-crucified with Christ and no longer lives. And now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for the Anointed One lives his life through me— we live in union as one! My new life is empowered by the faith of the Son of God who loves me so much that he gave himself for me, dispensing his life into mine!
See also John 15:12.)
Jesus felt genuine love for people like the Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:21), Martha, Mary, and Lazarus (John 11:5), and his disciples as he washed their feet (John 13:1).
He had deep friendship love that altered his movements as a man. So much so that He returned back to the area where they were going to stone himhim instead of isolating.
(John 11:1-11) In the village of Bethany there was a man named Lazarus, and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Mary was the one who would anoint Jesus’ feet with costly perfume and dry his feet with her long hair. One day Lazarus became very sick to the point of death. So his sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, our brother Lazarus, the one you love, is very sick. Please come!”
When he heard this, he said, “This sickness will not end in death for Lazarus, but will bring glory and praise to God. This will reveal the greatness of the Son of God by what takes place.”
Now even though Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, he remained where he was for two more days. Finally, on the third day, he said to his disciples, “Come. It’s time to go to Bethany.”
“But Teacher,” they said to him, “do you really want to go back there? It was just a short time ago the people of Judea were going to stone you!”
Jesus replied, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight in every day? You can go through a day without the fear of stumbling when you walk in the One who gives light to the world. But you will stumble when the light is not in you, for you’ll be walking in the dark.”
Then Jesus added, “Lazarus, our friend, has just fallen asleep. It’s time that I go and awaken him.”
He felt compassion. (Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; 20:34), and sympathy (Hebrews 4:15).
Jesus was exceedingly joyful when he saw that 72 ordinary disciples were able to minister the power of God’s kingdom to people (Luke 10:21). He also felt rejoicing (John 15:11; 17:13), glad (John 11:15), and thankful (Matthew 11:25).
Hebrews 1:9 says, “Jesus was anointed with the oil of gladness “more than any of His fellows.” That is, He had a gladness about Him that was unparalleled in any other person. Truly, whoever looks at the Lord cannot help but be impressed with Him. One would think however, that the secret to such attractiveness, effectiveness, and joy would be very complex. One would think that Jesus must have understood esoteric mysteries and implemented difficult methodology. But such is not the case, for throughout the scriptures, we see the simplicity of the secret Jesus understood that produced in Him the life that was so successful and so beautiful. What was this secret? The very foundational principle that governed His entire life was His relationship with His Father. Jesus would pause for union with the Father so frequently that He would proclaim to His followers, “I and my Father are ONE! And, If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”
Jesus felt peace from heaven’s world and shared this with his disciples before he died
(John 14:27). “I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous! “Remember what I’ve told you, that I must go away, but I promise to come back to you. So if you truly love me, you will be glad for me, since I’m returning to my Father, who is greater than I. So when all of these things happen, you will still trust and cling to me. I won’t speak with you much longer, for the ruler of this dark world is coming. But he has no power over me, for he has nothing to use against me. I am doing exactly what the Father destined for me to accomplish, so that the world will discover how much I love my Father. Now come with me.”
He also felt rest (Matthew 11:28) and refreshment (Mark 6:31).
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for giving us empathy and grace in all of our emotional difficulties in order to help us love God, ourselves, and the people around us. There is no one thing that you didn’t feel or experience, and nothing you can’t redeem, heal, or repair!
Wild on the Path is a ministry of:
"The Redeemed Adventure Project,"
The Soul Renovation Project.
Contact us at www.johnfairrington.com
Throwing out the untrue feelings!
Ever feel separated from where you belong! Ever felt discarded, misplaced, or that you have lost your usefulness? I have often stated that if for some reason we feel separated from God then our feelings are lying to us and we need to call those feelings liars. This prompted a letter from a very confused individual who had suffered much pain in their life. I quote part of it here.
"l don't think our feelings lie. I don't believe they are good or bad. I believe they just are and are responses to what's going on around and within us. ... When I feel defective and unworthy, the feelings aren't lying to me--that's how I feel. I believe feelings are a fact. The truth upon which that fact is based is what I need to change."
Anyone who has bothered to observe the paradoxes of life knows that feelings and facts are strange bedfellows. At times they seem to be friends who cannot exist without each other and, at other times, mortal enemies.
From my own observations, I have decided that feelings are fickle critters that can't seem to decide where to give loyalty. I have seen this play out in every aspect of our culture such as: Covid-19, Gun Laws, Church function, Family relationships, and Religious influence. If you don’t think feelings and facts are perpetually being manipulated by The Press, The Government, and a Godless Culture then… Well that’s just naive! This Culture has simply been responding to to feelings and not the truth of the matter for a long time now.
Now let me give you an example of how this bears out practically. If a huge truck is bearing down on me, the feeling of fear is a direct result of true and imminent danger; but when I detect no true and immediate danger and yet have feelings of fear, what does that say about the truth of the feeling? Or, one can experience the opposite circumstance--a true and present danger without any feeling of fear. Here again, I must ask about the truth of the feeling. Compounding this struggle further, feelings, fickle as they are, become terrible tyrants when they are the rulers of our lives rather than mere providers of information. For this reason, we must somehow rule them in order to establish their role in a healthy way.
It is very evident that the so called “experts” on things from the media, government and even science are telling us one thing and that our physical observations, feelings, and experiences, are telling us something else. This poses a dilemma in christianity because some will tell you that giving more weight to our physical observations, gut feelings, and experiences, is the way to discovering the apparent truth. This is a Godless philosophy that will never allow us to navigate life or know the truth. Why? Because truth becomes reduced and compromised by what is called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance supposedly occurs when what we are told does not align with what we experience. It basically states that experience based on our feelings is the only way for truth to become more apparent. This philosophy is a diversion from real Truth as we are about to discover.
The whole subject is much larger than this blog can chew so let's narrow the confines to our opening subject.
To what degree can we trust our feelings, experiences, and observations in this culture and how do we navigate them in relationship to God and all things spiritual? Perhaps I should deliver some further definitions before we continue. I believe that feelings are the results of many things, but truth may or may not have anything to do with them. Truth, to me, is Jesus himself as the living Word and the Bible as the written Word. I would imagine that definition to be acceptable to most who read this although we live in a culture that has all but tried to eliminate the truth of scripture. Facts are merely or supposedly accurate bits of information about the world. Feelings are our emotional responses to information, truth and experiences.
With those definitions, let us propose some situations. What if my friends are planning a surprise birthday party for me, and, as I notice what seems to be strange behavior, I become angry and think they are doing something bad. Regardless of my observations, the truth of the matter is different from the reactions of my emotions. Consequently, I must call my feelings liars. (This is a trait that the Woke Generation hasn’t the capacity to understand!)
Suppose I feel that God doesn't love me or that he is getting even with me. The truth is that God is love and that he is forgiving, and ever present with me, thus my feelings do not represent the truth and are lying to me. Does this mean that feelings are not real. No. Feelings, though real, are neutral (neither good or bad) but they are not always accurate. When they do not reflect what we know to be true, i.e., Jesus and the Bible, then we must be brave enough to call our feelings liars and act out of what we know to be the truth rather than our feelings.
God is Compassionate, Merciful, Slow to Anger, Abounding in Love and Faithfulness, Forgiving of Wickedness, Rebellion and Sin. Regardless of how I "feel," I choose to believe those truths about God. The Nature of Jesus was that He was a Servant, He did not Lord It over Others, He Lead by Example, He was Humble, As A Child, As the Younger, As the Least, Last, Used No Force on Us, Was Not Driven by Selfish Ambition, Made Himself of No Reputation, Was Fully Human, Obedient, Unto Death. Consequently, I will demand that my feelings conform to that Truth. If you are wondering about these characteristics of Jesus and how they are supported in scripture, take a look at Philippians 5:2-11.
As for me, I will devote myself to what I know to be true of the nature and personality of Jesus Christ. Who made the proclamation in Matthew that it was the confession “You are the Christ” that He would build His Church on. I will continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers because I choose to believe those truths about the the world we live in and the Body of Christ. He is with you, He is Truth, and He is the only Way!
Now throw your feelings out and trade up for the Real Truth!