My Current Heart Stirrings: Men’s Ministry

I did men’s ministry for many years before I went into vocational ministry. Recently I felt led to address the young men in our church. One Saturday morning, I invited men aged 35 and under to join me as I shared some thoughts with them. Basically I said to them what I wish had been said to me at that age. The response from the guys who attended has been amazing. They want more.

In the process of planning and praying for this event, God did something to my heart. I’m still processing all that means, but I know it involves being more intentional addressing concerns I see as a need for more godly men to lead in their homes, communities and churches.

This week I received this email. (Some details are omitted to protect the identity, although this email is one of dozens like it I receive each year.)

Hi, my wife and I attend your church regularly. My wife feels like I need to be more of a spiritual leader. I wanted to get your advice on what I should do as a husband to be more of a spiritual leader in my marriage and what it looks like. Thank you for your time.

Pastor, how would you answer that question?

God is placing a huge passion and burden on my heart for men, specifically young men who desire to be godly, but aren’t sure where to start. I’ve seldom met a man who didn’t want to do the right things, but I’ve met many who didn’t know how to get there. Mentoring and discipleship resources for men are rare compared to what’s available for women.

In the coming weeks and months, I’m going to spend more time addressing this issue here and in other venues. I’m even praying about a bigger opportunity to address this need. I don’t know what’s next completely, but I know when I stand before my God I want to have been faithful to His call.

Am I on the right track? Help me process this need and opportunity.

Men, be honest, do you need some help in this area of your life? Are you struggling in your roles as a man?

Women, what about your take on this issue? Do men need help learning to be godly men?

What are the best resources right now addressing this issue?

I’d love your input as it helps confirm and fuel my heart and thoughts.

Vacation Preferences

We are on a few days vacation this week. We came with another couple to the San Francisco area. Cheryl and I have traveled extensively, and we’ve been to California, but never to this part of the state. Even only after our first full day we love this place! It was a gorgeous day and we explored the famous Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf, and walked every inch of Alcatraz today. In addition, I ran 6 miles along the bay this morning. We came back to our hotel exhausted.

This is not an atypical day for Cheryl and me on vacation. On every vacation we are never still, seeing everything we can in the time we are away, and we often go home more tired than when we left. That’s how we do “vacation”.

How do you do it?

Join my quick post today and tell me how you spend vacation.

Do you:

  • Never slow down and see everything you can?
  • Do nothing you don’t have to do and simply relax?
  • Does it depend on the location and type vacation?

BTW, just to thank you for reading my blog and bothering to comment, I’ll draw one commenter randomly to win a copy of my devotional, book, Mustard Seed Thoughts.

Friday Discussion: Should We Boycott the the New NIV Bible?

Southern Baptists this week in their annual convention voted to reject Zondervan’s new version of the NIV Bible. Citing the gender neutralizing changes, such as saying “parent” instead of “father”, among other changes, the convention voting decisively to state their objection to the new version. The resolution also suggests to Lifeway stores, a Southern Baptist entity, that they refuse to sell the version. There are actually several NIV versions after the original and more popular 1984 edition. This objection is to the newest release. You can read the entire resolution HERE.

I’ll be honest. I had already decided not to use the version personally after seeing a change in one verse. Philippians 2:5 is one of my favorite verses. It’s critical to understanding who we are to be in Christ, in my opinion. I don’t like the wording change in the TNIV.

  • The original 1984 NIV says: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…
  • The new NIV says: In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had…

That seems like a major change to me. So, according to the revision, I suppose I’m only to have the mind of Christ when I am dealing with other people. If I’m by myself I can have any mind I want… 🙂

Anyway, that change alone was enough for me and I’ve decided not to use the version.

At the same time, I’m not big on denominational boycotts either, so I’m not sure how I would have voted had I been there.

What about you? Discuss with me.

  • What version of the Bible do you use?
  • How would you have voted at the Southern Baptist Convention?
  • Should we boycott the TNIV?
  • How do you feel about gender neutralizing the Bible?

Be honest…Discuss!

A Word to the Men: From Pastor Ron

The last two years have been a season of change in my life. I’ve experienced a change of perspective as we’ve transitioned into being empty nesters and I’ve experienced a change of passion in terms of where I see God wanting me to invest my energies.

At 47 years of age, I have learned enough to know there are things I wish I had known earlier in life. Reflecting on my role as a husband, father, and leader, I realize how much wisdom is necessary to accomplish all that is required of men. In my conversations with other men, I know that many men never received proper instruction and wisdom on what it means to be a man. I have a strong and growing desire to encourage the next generation of men and young leaders to be men of God in their homes, churches and communities.

Recently I felt led to address the younger men of our church with this issue on a Saturday morning. In a simple, two hour gathering, I plan to speak to men candidly and challenge them to live godly lives in all areas of their lives. The premise of the meeting will be to address the men as if I was sitting with one man, helping him discern how to be a godly husband, father, and leader.

If you are in the area, come join us Saturday, June 18 from 8 to 10 AM at St Bethlehem Christian Church. We have advertised this to men age 35 and under. That’s not a magic age and no ID’s will be checked at the door. We are limited in space and want to make sure I’m addressing audiences younger than me. I’m still learning how to be 47!

Young men, be honest: Do you wish someone further down the road in life would speak into your life?

The Strangest Thing You’ve Seen in a Woman’s Purse

So the other day I was at a mall and witnessed something that made me chuckle. This mom apparently had 3 kids and a husband. Of course, that was an assumption I made about them, but for this story it won’t really matter. What I thought was funny was the woman’s purse. It wasn’t huge, but every child and the husband wanted something from the woman and she found it in her purse. Apparently she was the keeper of her family’s stuff.

Ever seen that one before?

She had a brush, money, some kind of medicine, something to drink and a bottle of mustard…and I’m sure some other things. I know…random right…but that’s what made me chuckle. This mom was prepared for whatever her family needed…all within a single purse.

So it made me wonder

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen in a woman’s purse? If you’re a woman…feel free to share the strangest thing you’ve ever carried in your purse.

I’m curious…Share now!

Thank You for Your Service

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Thank you for those who have committed their life to protecting our nation’s freedom!

Happy Memorial Day!

Friday Discussion: Should Christians Flash Lights?

A reader sent me a great question recently. He wrote: Do you think Christians should flash their lights to warn of cars on the road of an approaching radar patrol or police car?

I don’t know…but I think it’s a good question. I thought I’d let you help answer.

What do you think?

Do you think this is a gray area or is it cut and dry?

How do you make decisions for situations like this?

Are there other issues like this where you think Christians have to think through in this way?

How I Lost 10 Pounds in Less than 2 Months using LoseIt

I believe physical health is important for the leader. I have written about this before HERE. I know there are times a leader can’t do anything about his or her health, but if there is an option, the leader should strive to be healthy. It makes me more productive when I feel better physically.

Recently I lost 10 pounds to get in even better shape.

A short history:

I’m 47…I feel good…and I’m in good shape physically. I run almost everyday. I monitor my weight and I eat semi-healthy. In my mid thirties I got slightly overweight, about 15 pounds, and decided to do something about it. I worked hard to reach my ideal weight and stay there consistently for almost 10 years. In the last 18 months, due to stressful, fast-paced living, and lots of traveling, I added back another 10 pounds. I tried what had worked before to lose the weight, but nothing seemed to work.

Some call it a middle-aged spread.

The story:

On March 30th of this year, I had lunch with my friend Michael Hyatt. I hadn’t seen Michael in a couple months and instantly recognized how well he looked. He had obviously lost weight. He is slightly older than me, so I knew he would probably struggle as I had, so I asked him for his secret. Always a teacher, Michael shared with me that he had been closely monitoring what he eats using the LoseIt application. I had tried this application, but never disciplined myself to actually use it. Michael is one of the most intentional guys I know and a tremendous mentor, so I knew if he was recommending it I should do this!

This time I was determined. It worked!

Here’s how the LoseIt application worked for me:

I loaded the application on my iPhone, iPad, and laptop. I wanted it easily accessible and thankfully it cloud syncs with all three.

I set a goal in the application of where I want to get to in weight. Based on my age and height, the program figures an estimated calories I can eat per day to lose the amount of weight per week I say I want to lose. Right now I’m set at 1.5 pounds per week. You could do 1 pound or 2 pounds. I took the middle number. This gives me an estimated date to reach my target.

Before every meal I look up the foods I’m about to eat. I also use the MyFitnessPal app, which seems to have more foods available, but they are not always as accurate. This decision alone saves me hundreds of calories a day simply in awareness.

After each meal I enter in the foods I have eaten. LoseIt has many of them pre-loaded and once I save them I can always go back to that food easily. Most of us repeat meals and foods we like, which makes this feature helpful. By the way, the picture is a stock photo, not mine. I actually cut out most sodas and junk food too. This process makes me think healthier to save calories.

Following any exercise I add the time spent, which figures a calorie lost value and adds that number to my daily calorie allowance. This is huge motivation to exercise more, even if it’s simply walking.

Everyday I add my weight for the day and it shows me my progress towards my goal. You can choose to add your weight whenever you want. Some want to do this daily, but some want to do it weekly.

In less than 2 months, I’m at my desired weight again. I’ve actually set a lower than desired weight gaol I’m working on now so that when I fluctuate I gain towards my desired weight, not above it.

People say they don’t want to be that strict with their eating habits. I agree, and I don’t intend to be forever either. I like to eat what I want to eat, but I do plan to be smarter about what I eat and this process has helped me form healthier habits. I would, however, remind you that if you went to Dave Ramsey for money advice, he would first have them write down everything they spend. It’s the same with what we eat. If we don’t know, we are likely to overeat, eat the wrong foods, and will struggle to remain a healthy weight.

Want to accept a challenge to get healthier? Are you serious about this process?

Join the fun!

May 21, 2011 Came and Went

“In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be” (declares the Lord) Amos 9:11 NIV

Yesterday I posted my thoughts on Harold Camping’s now failed prediction of the end of the world on May 21, 2011. (You can read that post HERE). We know that prediction didn’t come true, and most are relieved, but I can’t help but wonder if some are disappointed.

Do you have any broken places in the “tent” of your life? Are you ready for them to be restored? What Camping was promising would have been relief for many believers.

It seems hardly a day goes by that I do not encounter someone going through a struggle in life. That’s among those people inside and outside the church. We are experiencing the heartache and pain of a broken world.

May I offer this as hope as we continue in this path of life: Restoration is on its way! In the meantime, God’s Spirit stands ready to assist you in your time of need!

Jesus is going to return! At the very breath through the Father’s mind, Jesus will mount a great white stallion, whose rider is called Faithful and True, and He will, in a mighty display of His glory, bring victory to the people of God. The broken places will be made whole. Everyone will finally know that there is but One God, and He is Maker and Ruler of all things.

Jesus will come quickly, with a shout, and we will be brought before the Throne of the Almighty, where God will permanently and personally wipe every tear from our eyes. We will be with the Lord forever!

Are you ready for that glorious day? It didn’t come yesterday…but it’s coming!