Rise Up, O Men of God!


Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Acts 6:5–7 (NIV)

This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.


I want us to notice what happens when seven men step up to the plate of calling in the local church. But first, let’s remember the context of the story at hand. A bonafide problem arose in the matter of the distribution of food for the widows in the church. It was not simple as it involved some complexities around ethnicity. 

Let’s remember again how they solved the problem.

  1. Find people who “are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.”
  2. Lay hands on them, publicly commissioning them for the work.
  3. Turn them loose.

Now let’s notice what happened.

  1. The Word of God spread.
  2. The number of disciples increased rapidly.
  3. A large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

No shaming people into service. No begging for volunteers. No committee meetings.

Seven men simply stepped up. Then and now, there is an overabundance of godly women involved in the servant leadership of local churches. Still, we need more. However, in too many local churches, there is a dearth of men meaningfully involved. Why is this? I don’t want to over-read into the text, but there is no evidence the apostles called for men in this instance owing to patriarchal proclivities.  It would make better sense for several reasons to have women looking after widows than men doing so. Admittedly, I am speculating here, but I wonder if men were stepping up to the plate in the early church? 

At least I do want to appeal to the plain correlation we see in the text between the seven men standing in the gap and the reported flourishing of the church. 

The last thing I want to do here is to harangue men to be more involved. It never works and you usually wind up with the same men showing up who would have been there anyway. So how do we get to the hearts of the masses of men in our time? I don’t think it will happen through more urgent appeals for volunteers to serve. The greatest need is not for their hands but for their hearts. I think we have ample examples of local churches who have the hands of men and even the minds of many but we are missing men’s hearts. Men are watching and waiting for the call to nobility and the invitation to noble pursuit. 

And I’m almost sure there is a strong connection between this kind of noble heart and being filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. What if this is the starting line? Instead of trying to get men more involved in the church, what if we sought to inspire them to be filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom? It’s interesting the exact words of the apostles:

Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.

This was not a call for men who claimed to be full of the Spirit and wisdom but men who were “known to be.” Few men will ever respond to that invitation and those that will are not the drones you are looking for. Deep down, men want to be known deep down. They don’t want to be known for their skills and abilities or for their achievements and accomplishments. They want to be known for their hearts and their character. They want to be known “to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.” 

I’m sure there will be a line of men and women looking to take me on for this post today. I suspect, though, that the multitude of men are quietly leaning in as their hearts are being lifted up. 


Lord Jesus, I am your witness. 

I receive your righteousness and release my sinfulness.
I receive your wholeness and release my brokenness.
I receive your fullness and release my emptiness.
I receive your peace and release my anxiety.
I receive your joy and release my despair.
I receive your healing and release my sickness. 
I receive your love and release my selfishness. 

Come Holy Spirit transform my heart, mind, soul, and strength so that my consecration becomes your demonstration; that our lives become your sanctuary. For the glory of God our Father, amen. 


So how about it men? Am I close? Women? 


Today we will sing “Rise Up, O Men of God!” It is hymn 518 in our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise.

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

5 Responses

  1. JD: I’m going to take one of your questions and change one word. “Instead of trying to get (people) more involved in the church what if we sought to inspire them to be filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom?”

    Is getting people to faithfully attend a Sunday morning Christian meeting planned and directed by one man, and to passively listen to a sermon by him each week, effectively inspiring people to be filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom? Is the word of God spreading? Are the number of disciples in increasing rapidly? Are a large number of religious people becoming obedient to the faith? If the answer to any of these questions is no, perhaps we need to change the way we present Christianity.

    The traditional methods of presenting Christianity target the mind. Perhaps it’s time we aimed for the heart. Presenting church attenders with religious information isn’t filling them with wisdom. Running church people through a weekly religious routine isn’t filling them with the Holy Spirit.

    We need to go beyond church as usual. We need to train people to open their heart and to “hear what the Spirit is saying to the ‘ekklesias.'” It’s time to shift from the human programming and control of church services to Spirit-led gatherings where anyone present can say and do what the Spirit tells them to.

    After the apostles (sent ones) had all the rest of the Christ-followers choose 7 “table servers” who were “full of the Spirit and wisdom.” The Holy Spirit took over and two of those men (Stephen and Phillip) begin to boldly proclaim the risen Jesus and to do signs and wonders among the people. Suddenly all the Christ-followers (except the apostles/sent ones) were being scattered everywhere preaching as they went, and the Christian movement was launched from Jerusalem and sent to the ends of the earth.

    I believe that if Christians in America and other Western countries continue to hold back and box up God’s Spirit with our religious traditions, programming, control, and comfort zones, we will begin to experience persecution that will shake us up to such a degree that we will cry out to the living Jesus like never before and He will begin to show up with great grace and great demonstrations of His presence and power.

    Here are my questions: Why wait for persecution? Why not break out of passive religious formalism now?

    1. Steve, my thoughts completely about why we should anticipate the coming persecution. At this point, I believe it’s inevitable, and for the very reason you gave. In my opinion, the way “we do church “ will not change until external circumstances require it.

  2. I can’t say for sure, but from I’ve read elsewhere, the reason that there’s a shortage of men willing to take up the mantle of leadership roles, is that the Church seems to have been “feminized “. When a majority of sermons seem to present an image of servanthood that appears more suited to the ways that our culture views as women’s roles, it’s a tough sell. In my opinion, men will respond better to the invitation to see service in the kingdom of God as a soldier empowered by Christ Jesus. If we were to view the distribution of food crisis as a sign that Satan was attempting to drive a wedge into this New Covenant people, as a military tactic, then it would be clear that these seven men were being commissioned into the Lord’s army. It will require a well disciplined, well trained, battle hardened, group of blood-bought troops to overcome Satan’s attacks against the people of God.

  3. My question is, “Why were they known to be men full of the Spirit and wisdom?”
    By their knowledge (known)?
    Or how they used it (wisdom)?
    I will speculate others knew them to be full of the Spirit and wise, not because they could recite their knowledge (as the Pharisees were known), but how they lived their lives in Christ and for others.
    Makes me think about how I am known.

    1 John 3:16-18
    By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

    Staying 💪’n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

  4. Years ago I attended a church in a small town in Kansas. The Methodist Women provided meals following a funeral. People came from various states sometimes to attend a loved one’s service. It was an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus, I felt. After the meal, a group of men took over and did the cleanup. What a blessing!! I don’t know if this was noble work, but it surely was needed work.

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