Manathon XIVw

In February a group of young men from Liberty Baptist braved the icy journey and sub-zero temperatures for our annual winter manathon. For more about the concept of “The Manathon” you can look at these posts.

Where we went: Wells Lake in Faribault

What we did:

  • Dug snow shelters
  • Camped out in the snow
  • Cooked over campfire
  • Explored new terrain

What we focused on: A true man…

  • Grows up- Luke 2:40,52
  • Steps up – Luke 3:23
  • Stands up – Luke 4:1-13
  • Looks up – Luke 5:15-16

Some of the pictures:


The Men


Digging the snow caves


Eating Bar S Franks around the fire


The Sub Zero morning


Cheesy Squirrel Stew


Collapsing the Snow Caves




Uncle Ron guiding us across the lake


Me: “Hey everyone, put your hands over your head for the next picture.” Everyone does and I push them over when the pictures is taken. Priceless.

Next time you have the opportunity to camp out in the snow, remember the words of the world record holder for consecutive bee stings, Jim “Buzz” Smith, “It’ll [be] swell.”

Manathon XIIIs: What we ate

Manathon Series: Where we wentWhat we talked about, What we saw

Meal time during a Manathon is a mini adventure in itself. Each cooking and consuming portion is a mixture between the reality shows “Fear Factor” and “Hell’s Kitchen.” If you are a picky eater, you may want to bring along a few granola bars.

Manathon Meal

In the past we have experimented with different types of wild game that I am able to get my hands on. My father-in-law, who writes over at, has supplied us with bear sausage and other wild game. A friend donated venison for chili one winter manathon. To the pot we have also added grey squirrel, and this summer, snapping turtle.

Hot water

Not all meals are that “gamy.” In the Boundary Waters we have several staples around which we build every meal:

  1. Sausage from Menards (it comes in pound packages that you can buy for $1. Tough to beat)
  2. Oatmeal
  3. Dehydrated potatoes
  4. Rice
  5. Pancakes
  6. Hot Chocolate

Take one, or all, of those elements and you can make any breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Normally we pack in a package of Bar S Franks for the sentimentality factor since it is never considered a true activity until we pull out the “cheapest package of hotdogs manufactured.”

The goal is not gormet, but with the right grease fire or hail storm, any meal can be memorable.


Manathon SausageManathon mealManathon pancakes


Manathon XIIIs: What we saw

Manathon Series: Where we went, What we talked about


The Boundary Waters is a great place to experience wildlife. Last year we saw a bear, this year on the way up we almost hit a deer. The sad thing was it was in downtown Duluth.

Manathon Sunrise

While up in the woods we saw eagles, hawks, loons, beavers, etc. This year we didn’t see any big wildlife like moose or bear, which may have been just as well! I am not sure we really wanted to come face to face with either.

Manathon Sunset

Perhaps one of the best parts of the Boundary Waters is what you don’t see. We didn’t see houses, cars, or highways. We were not woken up by car horns, barking dogs, or the ringing of phones. Out on the lakes you don’t see speedboats, jet skis, or those floating mountains you are supposed to climb. Getting away from all the visual and audible noise makes you realize that things can be a lot more quiet. That is one reason why I view these Manathons as so valuable. They offer the opportunity to see and hear what is drowned out by busyness.


Manathon XIIIs: What we talked about

Manathon Series: Where we went


We had four main sessions during the week, each of them revolving around the manhood principle – “A true man expects a greater reward, God’s reward” (taken from Robert Lewis’ “Men’s Fraternity”).

Manathon study

We approached the principle from the angle of the final goal by studying John 18:1-11. In this short passage we can see how the ultimate goal of Jesus Christ was how he remained strong in the face of incredible trials. He had many options in various circumstances, but he chose only those which would lead him to his final goal.Around the Fire

The application of the lessons was the formulation of the “Man Plan.” Each guy filled out a portion of this plan each lesson:

“In order to arrive at the end of my life and consider it effective and meaningful, I will need to have accomplished/gained/done/etc. _____________________. This is my final goal, and right now my current location reveals that in order to reach that, I need to ___________________. Before me I have these available options ____________________________. I am going to take this option, _______________________, and begin by ___________________________.”

Manathon study

In addition to our studies in John 18, each young man also presented a biographical sketch of an influential man of history such as George Washington, Jackie Robinson, Eric Liddell, William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Chuck Colson, and Martin Luther. They had to read a chapter in Eric Metaxas’ book, “7 Men” and then compile more information from other sources. We focused on the goal of the individual’s life, where they began, what obstacles they faced, and what possibilities they passed on in order to achieve their goal.

I think we had a good mix of Bible study, teaching, and contribution. The guys did a great job at presenting their biographies.

Manathon XIIIs: Where we went

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Last week we went on our second manathon to the Boundary Waters.

 Sunday night we left from Liberty Baptist after the evening service and headed north. Up through Duluth, followed the north shore, took a left on the Sawbill Trail. We pulled out a tarp and sleeping bags someplace in the woods about 1 am and got some sleep. Temperatures dropped into the thirties, which neutralized themosquitoes, but not thespiders. Seems like they wanted to snuggle.

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The sun came up Monday morning and we had hot chocolate and oatmeal for breakfast. Picking up our permits at Sawbill Outfitters, we quickly got our gear loaded and started the long paddle. Our goal was Cherokee Lake. We paddled and portaged, paddled and portaged. We divided the crackers, sausage, and cookies for lunch, all of which was inhaled by the guys.Sometime in the afternoon we got to our campsite. The guys set up tents, collected firewood, and prepared supper.

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The same trip was repeated on Thursday morning as we got up early, packed all the belongings and worked our way back home.


The Masculine Mandate: God’s Calling to Men by Richard D. Phillips

The Masculine Mandate: God’s Calling to Men by Richard D. Phillips

Free on Kindle today here

Product Details

  1. Kindle: 174 pages
  2. Publisher: Reformation Trust
  3. Date Published: 2010 

Point: God has called all men, from the Garden of Eden to suburbs of Minneapolis, to work and keep. This refers not only to the land, but also to the hearts and lives of individuals.

Path: Part one begins by explaining Genes 2:15. Phillips outlines the mission given by God to man – to work and keep. This is possible and necessary because of man’s position as God’s image bearer and representative over creation. The second section (roughly two-thirds of the book) is comprised of the practical outworking of this mandate in marriage, work, parenting, friendship, and the church.

Sources: John Calvin, Diedrich Bonhoeffer, and Eric Alexander are referenced along side of Ted Tripp and Kent Hughes.

Agreement: This is a helpful, quasi-topical look at manhood. His principles are biblical. His examples are helpful. His rebukes are fair (I appreciated the fact that he explains the error of “Wild at Heart”).

Disagreement: Some disagree with the translation, “work and keep” thinking that it should be “worship and obey” (see Sailhammer). I don’t follow this interpretation, but there is a group out there who does.

I disagree with various comments he makes concerning singleness. Though God’s plan for humanity includes marriage, something which is very good, it is not his plan for every human. A single person can be godly, growing, and useful in the work of the ministry by the grace of God – just as a married person can be godly, growing, and useful. The end goal is not marriage, it is Christ-conformity.

Personal App: Am I actively working and keeping? Can this be seen in my marriage, family, church, friendships, and workplace? Where I am I resisting the Spirit and the Word?

Favorite Quote: “Indeed, this is what modern and postmodern masculinity has been all about – men behaving like little boys forever, serving themselves in the name of self-discovery” (9).

Stars: 4 out of 5

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it.

If this review was helpful, let me know here.

Bryon Yawn, What Every Man Wishes His Father Had Told Him

Book: Yawn, Byron Forrest. What Every Man Wishes His Father Had Told Him. Harvest House Publishers, 2012.

Pages: 180

Owner: My Kindle

Date of reading: 1st – 5/21/13

Point: Sons, hear me. Manhood is about recognizing one’s identity in, and responsibility to, Christ the risen King.

Path: Yawn walks through crucial applications of the Gospel in the life of a young man, and any man, who still has breath. To the steady stream of valuable Biblical advice, the author adds humor, stories, illustrations, and plenty of punches to the gut of “self worth.” According to the table of contents, he addresses Fatherhood, Grace, Masculinity, Affection, Ambition, Sincerity, Accountability, Confidence, Marriage, Wives, Sin, Sex, Pornography, Eternity, Consistency, Thinking, Work, and Integrity. Those are the themes, but he addresses much more than that.

Sources: He is the biological son of a distant father, the adopted son of a godly man, and the spiritual son of a Heavenly Father. He also has sons of his own.

Agreement: I really enjoyed reading this book. His humor, insight, and bare knuckle punches were both interesting and convicting. His focus on the Gospel kept it from being a moralistic pat on the back or challenge of self will. He helped me to focus on Jesus Christ more in every area of my life.

Personal App: Am I finding my identity in Christ? Am I finding my strength in Christ? Am I finding my hope in Christ?

Favorite Quote: “To the adult son who looks back and regrets, there is hope. To the confused husband who looks down on his life with despair, there is a means to victory. To the father who looks ahead to the future of his own children, there is a way. In every case it is the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Kindle Locations 146-148)

Stars: 4.5 out of 5

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it.

If this review was helpful, let me know here.

Man-A-Thon XII s

The Man-A-Thon for the summer of 2012 was a trip to the Boundary Waters. Nine men took off for Brule lake on Sunday evening after church. Our theme for this man-a-thon was “True Men Accept Responsibility.”
Because the limit is nine people for each permit, and no more than 4 canoes to each group, we filled it to capacity. The tricky part was figuring out how to get all the canoes, gear, and guys up there in one piece! I googled “four canoes on a van” but had no relevant hits. I suppose we were heading into uncharted waters. Here is option A.
Steve S., our guide, did all the hard work with figuring out how to get us up there and to the right destination. We eventually settled on option C for the canoes.
We were graciously allowed to use the cabin of a friend up in Lutsen to spend the night, so we didn’t have to throw down our sleeping bags in a parking lot somewhere. We spent the night in Lutsen, and then got to the Tofte station by 8 for orientation and permits.
Caribou trail took us first to Eagle Mountain, the highest peak in Minnesota. On the way there we saw a black bear, but he was too quick to get a picture.

Eagle Mountain is not much of a mountain, but at 2301 feet above sea level, it is the 39th highest state point in the USA (beating out Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa).
Everyone made it up and down, ending a little lighter thanks to the thirsty mosquitoes on the trail.
We got into Brule lake around one at began our paddle to the north west portion of the lake. We were able to make it into camp just before the rain hit, thankfully. It was a little questionable with the zipper technique for paddling of a few of the guys – back and forth, back and forth.

2012 Winter Man-a-Thon

Ten of us men traveled up north to camp out a few weeks ago. Our destination was Pillager, MN. Growing up, my dad, brothers and I built a small cabin in the woods to use as our retreat center on a piece of land owned by a friend. Over the years we hiked, canoed, climbed, explored and camped out in every season, in every type of weather, and all with the same results – we had a great time.

We hiked back into our campsite and got to work on the important stuff. We cut wood, built a fire, and started cooking (the first two were just to get to the third). We cooked potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, and chuck roast in tinfoil packets directly on the coals. The only problem we faced was accidentally getting coals in the packets, which makes for interesting biting.
After we ate we took a midnight hike and watched the stars from a ridge and then discussed God’s interest in our lives. Praying together before we went to bed we had to stop to let the wolf howling to calm down.

We then laid out the tarp, struggled into our sleeping bags (some more than others since it was there first time in a mummy bag), and went to “sleep.” Again, I think the howling of the wolves frightened the guys with the rabbit fur hat – and rightfully so.