Is it worth it? The time? The money? The sacrifices? Those were just a few of the questions running through my head and heart as I stood over the washing machine a number of years ago moving a load into the dryer. It was not a good season in many ways. I was serving full-time in a local church with very little help. We had two young and overly energetic boys. My wife was expecting baby number three in about two months. The real struggle was in her experiencing premature labor and thus confined to mostly bed rest. She was out of commission and I was wondering what in the world I was doing taking grad-school classes. The questions were logistical and about motive. Am I doing this for the right reasons? Do I really need to pursue an MA? Can’t I just as well serve my present job and calling fine with what I have? Then as I was reaching down to pull out the last handful of clean clothing I sensed the Holy Spirit confirming that I needed to stay in the fight.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills; where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of Heaven and Earth.” That was my theme. David’s prayer from Psalms 121:1-2 is what I carried with me two weeks ago when I headed out to Kenya to help with an amazing ministry called Marked Men For Christ. The purpose of MMFC is singular and that is simply to build stronger men for Jesus Christ. That is exactly what we did with around 325 men from several nations all converging near Nakuru, Kenya. For my part, I had the privilege of leading two prayer teams during our time there and the transformation in the lives of men was miraculous. Below is a link to the report I gave yesterday at Cypress Crossings. Part of the message was ministry report but most of it was a sermon of encouragement. I hope it will be a blessing to you in your walk. Thank you again to everyone who lifted this project up in prayer and financial support. The time was incredibly productive with even eternal ramifications.
We are just six week away from the Africa Marked Men For Christ mission project and I wanted to send out a prayer email in preparation. It’s been quite a while since I’ve participated in an international project like this and only recently was reminded of my personal need for prayer support. So with that I’d like to invite you to lift up me and the other 46 men from the States who are headed to Nairobi in late April to minister to African men from Kenya and five other African nations.
For the logistics of the trip, I will be flying out of Houston on the 23rd 10:45a and arrive in Nairobi on Sunday night, the 24th at 6p. My return flights will begin on Sunday, May 1st at 11:25p and landing in Houston on Monday at 2:45p. The exact event timing will be from Tuesday through Thursday with prep on Monday and follow up training on Friday. My particular role will be to lead one of the four prayer teams during the three day event.
The stakes are high and the need is huge for leadership development of men in these nations. The goal is that these men will be able to return to their home stronger ambassadors for Christ in their neighborhoods, cities, and countries. Maybe eventually to the nations.
I want to thank you who have already begun to pray for this ministry and for the financial support of many of you. Specifically, I am asking that you write the trip dates down on a good calendar as a reminder to lift us up daily during that season. The chances are good that I will have email access during the evenings so that I will be able to make on the ground reports.
For prayer, please lift up:
-Safe travel for the African men going to and from Nairobi.
-Safe travel for the American and European men.
-Safety would be both from danger and sickness.
-Protection from Satanic, political, and physical distractions.
-Open hearts of the African men.
-Wisdom for myself and the other leaders.
-Protection for Debi and the girls while I am gone.
-Anything else that the Holy Spirit might lay on your heart.
Thank you again and please let me know if you have any questions.
PS If you’d like to be included in the update email list just shoot me a note.
Many of you know that world evangelism and discipleship holds a huge place in my heart. While Deb and I continue to financially support foreign missionaries and projects, it has actually been over 10 years since I’ve been out of the country. Debi has served on a couple of teaching trips to Honduras over the past few years but I have not used my passport since teaching in Nagaland, India with Australian missionary, Doug Willis back in 2003.
I have probably been studying God’s design for manhood for well over 20 years now. The first real pick at the subject came during my college years when Todd Owen and I set upon the gospels to learn what we could from the man Jesus Christ. While Jesus is divine, God in the flesh, he was also perfect in his manhood. The text tells us that he got angry with the religious Pharisees, wept over the death of a friend, and got tired after a long day’s work. The author of Hebrews lets us into the secret that Jesus was tempted in every way possible to man yet was without sin. Jesus was fully man just as well fully divine. Therefore we can learn a thing or two about manhood from him.
In addition to attempting to follow Christ I’ve read a number of books over the years along with taking in various conferences and men’s ministry participation.
No, we’re not asking for a fight. However, we are asking what you’re passionate about. Football fans will know that “hit someone” is a common call when heading out onto the field and especially for the D-Line. “Hit someone” means that we’re going to make something happen. So; what are the God given passions deep down in your heart and what are you doing with them? Join us for our final show of the season this Sunday at 8p Central as we welcome business and ministry leader Steve Spicer to the show. Steve’s passion is first for Jesus and then for helping men realize and live out their God given passions. Steve is co-founder of a ministry called Marked Men For Christ which has built up well over 6000 men in 25 countries representing some 2000 churches since its inception in 2001
While we will be addressing manhood in our modern culture, the pursuit of passion will apply to ladies as well. So make plans now to stop in for the discussions tomorrow night at 8p Central. You can watch live here and send in questions via the blog or connect on my personal FB page or the SND Facebook page. You can also view and send in questions directly to the SND Google + Page. As always, questions and comments can be sent in early and we will definitely be offering free resources at the end of the show. In fact, Steve noted that he will offer a $50.00 savings on a MMFC weekend registration for viewers.
Can following Jesus help your business? That’s a good question. The honest answer begins when we realize that there is truly no divorce between the secular and the sacred in life and the Kingdom of God. Jesus really does care about every part of our lives and the Bible does indeed hold many divine principles which apply to the market place just as much as the Sunday morning gathering place. Join us Sunday at 8p Central as we welcome business and leadership coach, Ross Trahan to the show. Ross serves as Vice President of Accelerated Leadership which has raised the standard of leadership, teamwork, and success for thousands of individuals in over a hundred Gulf Coast companies since 1999. How do God and the market place intersect? Tune in at 8p Central here or on Google + to find out. As always, questions are welcomed and we will be giving away a free resource at the end of the live webcast.
Where did the weakness come from? Many sociologists will point to a turbulence in time which we know as the 1960s in America. With free sex came fractured families which lead to countless boys growing up without a dad to lead the way. While such statistical data is something to consider, the real root resides much further back in history. The real problem goes all the way back to our first father, Adam, and his forgetting who he was.
What we find in the ancient order of things before sin entered the picture is that Adam was strong. God created Adam to actually rule over creation, to tend the garden and creatively name the animals and even his own wife, Eve. Imagine; all of God’s creation was set down in front of Adam to govern. In short, Adam was created strong. The problem arose when for whatever reason, Adam lost sight of his heart and gave up his strength as Eve slipped into the grasp of the evil one. Adam did nothing. Eve and humanity suffered. Adam forgot who he was. The result was more than his personal anti-mission, but total brokenness within himself, with his wife, and ultimately with God.
But thank God the historical narrative didn’t end there. This past Christmas we were reminded that God stepped into history and made a way for things to be different. Jesus Christ came to bring life and restore our hearts. Jesus Christ came to restore our strength. Yes, we deal with brokenness and the brave man acknowledges that. But yet, when we come to Christ and walk daily with him we can see that God is truly in the restoration business. While we will never experience perfection this side of eternity, we can get a glimpse of what God had in store for us in the life of Adam as he was meant to be. God made Adam strong so that he might bring strength to the world. God made you strong so that you might strengthen others.
So as we get ready to enter the second month of 2015 what can you do to strengthen those around you? Could you be more present for your wife and children? Could you be more supportive of your local church family and its leadership? Could you reengage with some other guys in your life as a band of brothers?
Whatever it might be, the fact is that our strength starved world is waiting for you to push toward the chaos and make a positive change. Yes, they’re waiting for you.
Concluding in the words of Paul; “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage, be strong. Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14.
This Sunday is Father’s Day and for some people that means a powerful time of positive reflection. Dad was great. Others though approach Father’s day with a yawn at best. Either way I typically look at this confused occasion as an opportunity to teach about God’s design for fatherhood and the family. Dads are influential and important beyond measure. When I talk with solid leaders I like to ask them about their fathers and their relationship with them. If I’m studying the life of a great leader from the past or one presently alive that I just can’t get close to I still try to uncover something in connection to their fathers. Almost without exception, the great Kingdom leaders that I know had a good relationship with their dad and he was a tremendous part of their inner formation.
My story is not too shiny in this department. When people ask me about my father I sometimes jokingly reply, “Well, which one”? I suppose I could categorize my journey with dads this way.
What does maturity and manhood really look like? According to Skyler Wilder who writes for NBCOlympics.com; it looks like David Wise who tore up the half pipe free-style ski event for a gold medal this past Tuesday. In Wilder’s post David is shown to be a great young and mature man who is even thinking about possibly being a pastor some day. I was thrilled to see such credit given to a young man of God. The interesting thing about the post was the number of times Wilder referenced David’s maturity and actually called it an alternative lifestyle. While the immediate context probably is a contrast of David to the other “dudes” who rip up the slopes with more power than I could ever muster, it does raise a question of what manhood really looks like in America and the Post-Modern West. The sad reality is that a young man in his early 20s who is already married and a father with a life focus used to be called normal in western culture. Such is not always the case today. In fact, Kay Hymowitz ran a report in the WSJ a few years ago that simply posed the question; “Where Have the Good Men Gone?” In her article Hymowitz observes that the Western culture is undergoing a phenomina of drop out men of enormous proportions. The truth of the matter is that countless boys and young men in America are clueless as to what exactly it means to be a man. So many of them are lost with nowhere to go and little reason to get there. What does it really mean to be a man anymore?
Are there answers? Does God have anything to say on the issue? Does it even matter? To dive into those questions and more, be sure to join us tonight at 8p Central as we talk with Steve Spicer, co-founder of Marked Men for Christ, and our other guests about manhood and maturity. As always, if you are using Google + you can find the SND page and send in live questions during the show. We will also be checking for questions or comments left here or on our SND Facebook page.
See you soon.