Tag Archives: ONE TH1NG

Saving Jesus from Mr. Banks

MMMSquareOne Thing I Learned About Mary Poppins…

Interesting that Ron Dunn would be leading a deep dive into the 10 Commandments at One Th1ng the same week I watched “Saving Mr. Banks”. I just might not have seen the connection between this movie and the second commandment, had God not juxtaposed these two events so closely.

No big spoiler here – if you’ve read the title of the movie, you know “Saving Mr. Banks” is a statement of identity for Mary Poppins. It’s what she was created to do: save Mr. Banks. The movie covers two stories in parallel: the childhood of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers and the 1960s collaboration between Walt Disney Studios that gave birth to the big screen film. So, what does this have to do with the Ten Commandments, much less you and I?

So, What:

Thanks, for asking. Let me dive into the “you and I” part first and the Commandment part should become pretty obvious along the roadside.[Spoiler?] As Travers’ father’s alcoholism began to take its toll on her father’s health and her mother began to break down under the stress, her aunt enters the picture – on whom she’d later base the beloved Poppins. But, this Mary Poppins – to save the family from utter destruction. But, while this Poppins could offer help to Travers’ beleaguered mother and siblings and limited care to her dying father, she couldn’t save her father from the damage already done. The story left me wondering how much of our adult lives we often spend trying to right childhood wrongs. Travers, who loved her father’s whimsical imaginations, apparently shut her self off from all childhood fun, save that which she wrote about in her books.

Mary Poppins was sent to save Mr. Banks since her own aunt could not save her own dad. In other words, Travers created for herself a savior who would make all things right that she could not…

I know, that’s a little heavy for Monday Morning Momentum, isn’t it?

Good News…

Not for the Christian. For those who are in Christ, we understand God as the loving father far better than Travers’ faulty dad. Our Sovereign Father doesn’t have an alcohol problem or a bad temper at work, and He appreciates whimsy far more than even Colin Firth can revel in. Because He loves us now, and Israel long before us, He gave the command to worship no rival gods. The second commandment warns us not to even dream up our own physical representation of Him, because such things always fall short, and will consequently leave us only temporarily fulfilled and unsaved from our greatest need. The Disney story shows Travers reaching a final, cathartic salvation when she sees her father figure, Mr. Banks, alive and well and frolicking with his children – eventually flying kites they repaired with money her own father would have made her invest.

Who Made Your God?

Though she may have experienced temporal justice, without a true Savior, she’d never truly know the good of a perfect and loving Heavenly Father.

Do not act like the other nations…Their ways are futile and foolish.
They cut down a tree, and a craftsman carves an idol.
They decorate it with gold and silver
and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails
so it won’t fall over… such gods,
for they can neither harm you nor do you any good. (Jer. 10:2-3,5)

If Travers spent much of her adult life writing, forming a savior decorated with earthly wisdom, silvery songs, and fancy on pages her typewriter hit like hammer and nails, she’d have created a god that could only save her from the wrongs of her childhood. Easy mistake: even the disciples often mistook Jesus as one who would merely save them from the oppression of Rome and earthly princes. They would scatter at His death because they missed the fact that He died to save them, save Travers, save all of us, from something far greater – a future eternity separated from God. Ironic that Mary Poppins would be so famous for quoting that “some people cannot see past the tip of their own nose…” Her man-made idol’s power went only so far.

The Good News:

In Christ, you have a Savior – capital “s” – who does not promise you mere temporal justice. Things done to you or not done for you in childhood may not be reconciled this side of heaven. But, one day, He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and we will reign with Him in glory. Wrong will be made right. The wicked will be cast off. And, those who are cleansed by the atoning work of Christ will not gloat over this, rather rest in the peace and joy that only a Savior created by God can promise.

So, Lemme Askya

Is there anything – a situation, a relationship, a deal, an ideal – that you’ve created in your life to fix what didn’t happen or didn’t happen as well as you wished in childhood? Any temporal problem you’re striving and striving to save yourself from while God is calling you to set your eyes on the greater problem of eternal salvation? Do as Moses did – crush the idol to powder and feed it to the Israelites… Okay, maybe not the second part. But, repentance for this is simple – “Lord, I’ve bowed down to a god that can scarcely save me from my own past. I want a God who can save me from my future.”

 

in Christ,

AP

What to Do about "The Ache" – John Woodall

John Woodall & his wife, Deborah
John is director of Groups for
North Point Community Church

and like me, a member of the
“I Married UP” club. Much love, John
      Note: Today, I wanted to pass on a note from John Woodall to the men who often gather at the Cabernet Restaurant on Friday mornings from 7AM to 7:55. If you’ve never attended ONE TH1NG, this would be a great week to check in. It’s a come-as-you-are-when-you-can-we’ll-fill-you-in-as-we-go kind of conversational environment designed to spur men on to walk with God. 

     If there’s a guy out there who knows a thing or two about walking with God (and walking with men who walk with God), John Woodall is that guy. Everytime John and I connect, he throws out a question that challenges me as a man and always makes me think, pray, and search the scriptures. That’s the kind of guy every man needs in his life, wouldn’t you agree?

    Get up, get out, and get there this Friday.

AP
  
Direction Correction

We can’t ignore it, so we go on a quest to remove it …or at least try to fix it.

Men try many different things to numb, deny,run from and cope with the Ache…as if it is a problem to be solved.

This “Ache” is in the soul of man and shows up in different times and seasons.

Last week we looked at a number of seasons:

  • 0-10 there is the ache of Unmet Needs
  • In our teens there is the ache of Rejection
  • In our 20’s, men ask, “What ache?”
  • 30’s bring the ache of Disappointments
  • The 40’s is a season of Disillusionments
  • 50-60’s men experience Dissatisfaction and
  • In our 70-80’s men just ache.

I have been on a 58-year quest to remove this ache only to discover a very important insight…

What we really need is a Direction Correction.

Join us Friday morning as we unpack well-grounded strategies to deal with the aches in every season of life.

Make an extra effort to invite or pick up and bring another man…. I guarantee some very lively conversations and direction based on truth.

See you early!

– John Woodall

Thoughts from John Woodall about This Friday Morning

My Achy, Breaky Heart   When I look up at this massive universe and see how big it is I’ve often wondered, “Why?”, “What’s the purpose?”, “Why am I here?” “Does my life even matter?”

      On the one hand there is incredible beauty and on the other incredulous evil.

     Recently, I found myself asking, “How do I deal with the pain of disappointment, disillusionment and a messed up world?

It hurts. It aches.

      Most of our lives are filled with more good things than we would have ever imagined including love and joy and peace; yet right next to it, we struggle with anger, greed, jealousy and lust.

      It is a struggle. It’s a daily battle and we ache.

      Men today have many options to navigate the ache.

      Often, we choose to medicate with busyness, money, medication or an unsustainable pace.  Still the ache lingers.

Too many walk around as Medicated Men.

      There is a better way…a more manly way…and it carries God’s seal of approval.

      Join us at the tables this Friday as we discover how to deal with the aches of this life.

 – John Woodall
 

The Answer to the Empty Feeling – Monday Morning Momemtum

What’s Got Your Eye?
     This year, as our church-wide fast began, I felt compelled to dig into Psalm 119. Glad I did.

“Direct me in the path of your commands,
    for there I find delight.
Turn my heart toward your statutes
    and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;    preserve my life according to your word. 
(Psalm 119:34-37)”

It’s All About Value
     Free Chapel embarks on a corporate, 3-day “water only” followed by 18 days of “Daniel Fast“. I never truly realize how valuable something is to me until I don’t have it. You? Yeah, I value water. MAN, I value food! Unfortunately, I have an addiction – refined sugar. That’s one food I value above all others. I’ll eat refined sugar products – desserts, cereals, candy, desserts to a gluttonous level – often to control my mood rather than for my stomach. Sugar is nowhere on the Ten Commandments, but abuse of any substance is idolatry and begs the question: “why would anyone want to delight in anything less than Jesus?” For me, it’s a rival god, it’s nutritionally worthless and it’s killing me and my potential with my own fork/spoon/hand

     Not everyone struggles with food addictions, but we all struggle with something. In the past, I’ve tried to manage my refined sugar addiction by behavior modification: “don’t”, much like I used to try to manage my addiction to pornography. Knowing that, Lord willing, this year I will celebrate 12 years clean from pornography, I understand that defeating that demon wasn’t about behavior modification, it was about hating the sin and surrender to Christ… oh, and a supernatural act of the Spirit, no? 

     When we come into alignment with what God values, we begin to love what He loves and hate what He hates. Selfish ambition is gradually replaced with God-ambition. When it comes to food, I need a double dose of love for God and a dose of hate for what is worthless. What’s your rival god? What are you using to fill that familiar empty feeling? What do you occasionally value more than God and His plan for your life?

Filling in the Blank

John Woodall will kick
off a transformational
conversation at
ONE TH1NG this Friday.

     We all have a blank spot in us, an ache, a God-sized hole in our hearts that we try to fill in with lesser solutions: accomplishment, material gain(s), sex, drugs, etc, things that at the judgment seat of Christ will be exposed for their true value – worthless. Side note: If you’re a man in the Alpharetta/Cumming area, you don’t want to miss John Woodall at ONE TH1NG this Friday morning at the Cabernet Restaurant at 7AM. He’ll be talking about the ache – an ache that in a Genesis 3 world, refuses to be healed until Christ returns. 

     In the meantime, the Psalmist points out the relationship between life and things: it is the nature of worthless things to suck the life out of us rather than to preserve our life. And yet, we chase after this stuff, often to the exclusion of the life giving plan that the life giving God has for us. Selfish ambition always finds us knocking on the door of stuff that is utterly worthless in God’s eyes. “Can you please fill in my blank?”

     In fasting, I am constantly reminded that I am blessed with opportunities to clean out the clutter that clogs my heart – literally and figuratively. The challenge is keeping it out. Behavior mod is a short road leading back to square one. Only a transformed mind and surrendered heart will do. 

Experience True Life
     Today, I encourage you to give up food or something incredibly valuable for more than 48 hours. You know your idols and rival gods. Pick one, but try food first. Then, pray as the psalmist did that God will help you keep your eyes and heart delighted in Him and away from things that are ultimately worthless in His economy. 

     May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ bless you, sanctify you, and transform you into the image of Christ you were designed to be from the start.

in Christ,

AP

Get Clean this Christmas – Ron Dunn

It’s Time 
     In 1986, garbage was piling up on the streets of Philadelphia. The sanitation department was on strike. Joseph Paolino and Sons moved opportunistically securing a contract with the city that involved collecting, burning, incinerating and then removing the ash.


     
How?  The ashes were piled on a freighter called
The Pelicano with a disposal trip planned to a third word country.  One problem.  Joseph and Sons did not properly segregate the trash before feeding the incinerator.

      Everything from orange peels and plastic to aluminum, copper, car batteries and light bulbs were blended together and in the end formed  28 million tons of toxic ash. Haiti, Honduras, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic… port after port turned them away.  The Pelicano became the most unwanted ship in the world and for two years it went from point to port, refueling, but leaving with it’s garbage.

      Can you relate?  For 15 years I was the Pelicano…docking and refueling at church on Sundays and in a men’s group on Fridays, gaining some energy, but still leaving with my toxic garbage.

      In Matthew 11:25 Jesus is getting ready to tell us how to get rid of our garbage…

      He had just talked about the people and cities that would not repent.  Now he thanks God that it is His plan to withhold the answer to those who consider themselves knowledgeable and wise, but reveals truth and reserves relationship for the childlike… a contrast to those who want to act independently of God and those who depend on the Father.

      After this prayer of thanks, Jesus lays One Thing out: Come unto me all you who are weak and heavy laden…those carrying garbage around for years…and I will give you rest.

      So what if Jesus had changed it up just a bit?…  What if he said…and I will sell you rest.  Would this be on your gift giving and gift getting list this Christmas?

      How much would you pay?… Seriously…think about it!

      The great news…it is free!

      If you have been carrying a heavy load of trash, it’s time to lay it down.

As we are nearing December 24th and 25th…Christmas, It’s time
 
     
Identify your garbage.  All the trash that you no longer want to haul around.

      Come to Jesus… lay it before Him, acknowledge…repent

      Invest some necessary time around the closing verses of Matthew 11…

      This Christmas I will precede our family gift-giving time by placing one wrapped package upfront and center….

      Inside the package will be four wooden letters… R-E-S-T. …The perfect gift that Jesus is willing to  freely give….

      The heart of Christmas.

      Men…somehow, in some way take the lead this Christmas and in a few memorable moments, with your family, from your personal experience, luxuriate this opportunity and share some dimension of what it means to “Come.”

     One on one with Jesus, it’s time to discover rest.

– Ron Dunn

Men Step Up Goes Co-ed?!

     The short answer is “no”. Men Step Up, Gwinnett is still a place where men can go to think out loud. But, a few years ago, Kelly Talamo sent out an email telling the guys who regularly gathered at the Cabernet Steakhouse on Friday mornings that he sensed the Lord leading him to step into content development and out of running the MSU venue every week. For a while, the Cabernet went dark on Fridays.

     But, a few years ago, Dan Diaddigo had Ron Dunn step up to lead a very similar truth & lie environment where men could be spurred on to the truth of Christ. Today, ONE TH1NG meets every Friday morning from 7AM to 7:55 on Windward Parkway at the Cab’. Below, I wanted to share with our readers Ron Dunn’s note regarding the truth about a lie we’ll be talking about tomorrow morning, bright and early.

So, What’s the Co-ed Thing
     Oh, yeah, I almost forgot – the tag line that got you to read this article in the first place. My bad… For years, women of all ages have been begging to know what it’s like to sit at the same tables and chew on the same issues their husbands or boyfriends or guys in their church get to talk about each week. As of this Fall, Ron has added a unique “re-run” to the mix: ONE TH1NG Co-Ed. On Sunday nights (this is the LAST Sunday for 2012) from 5PM to 6:30, men and women will gather at the Cabernet to look at a lie, learn from the truth, and be truly set free by the Word of God.

     Mark your calendar. Call your sitter. That barking you’re hearing is me hounding you to show up this Sunday (and only this Sunday for the remainder of 2012) at 5. No food, no admission, just show up as you are, hungry for the Truth.

Ron’s notes:

If it feels good…

      It looked good.  It was a delight to the eyes.  It was desirable.
(Genesis 3:6)

      This wasn’t the first time Eve saw the tree.  She passed by it many a day.  It was positioned in the middle of the garden.  On this day, however, Eve was looking at it through a different lens.

      Her emotions were engaged.  She was feeling it.  She wanted it.

      Satan engaged Eve in a well crafted conversation, then slyly slipped a pair of shades on her eyes and said look again though my lenses.

      Now, lets be clear.  Despite what Flip Wilson might say, the devil cannot make us do anything.  When we came to Christ, Satan lost power.  He was defeated.  Christ overcame him by the greater power of His sacrificed blood.

      Satan can’t force sin, but he does suggest it so vividly that men chose it on their own volition. 

      Satan created an image of God and of the tree that paved a path for Eve to take the forbidden fruit.  

      With his skills to deceive, He perpetually tries the same with you and me.

      Eve wasn’t seeking sin; sin was seeking her.  On this day it looked desirable and permissible.

      Satan would have us believe that he is where fun and freedom reside, so party here and party on.

      Truth is no one has more fun or feels better than God.

      What a bummer…all these people thinking they went to the fun party only to find out they missed the best feel-good a person can experience.

      Lie #6 is: If it feels good, do it!

      If it feels good… I mean really good… and lasts forever…. then you are giving glory to the God who created you, drawing near to Him.

      Join us at the tables as we unpack this uncommon truth and refreshing freedom.

      This Friday morning at 7 or this year’s final Sunday night COED at 5, we hope to see you at Cabernet.

– Ron

I Wish I Were Somewhere Else… Monday Morning Momentum

     Among the many conversations I’ve had with the men God has me walking with, a good double digit percentage of them have been about work – successes, failures, disappointments, prospects, tough cases, difficult people, etc. It always gets interesting when a guy, particularly one who is frustrated with his current work situation, brings up the idea of “going into full time ministry”.

     Occasionally, one of these guys is truly responding to a calling the Lord has placed on their heart. Over time and with much prayer, even fasting, the calling is authenticated. For the most part though, we [the guy and I] have discovered he’s simply in the midst of an “I wish” moment, wishing he were somewhere else, doing something else, with someone else, especially with less strife, contention, and aggravation, and often at a higher rate of pay.

Called?

     We recently moved out of a neighborhood where one of our neighbors was a couple who’ve spent over 25 years as missionaries to the Dominican Republic. I regularly meet with a couple of guys who’ve been in full time ministry for over a decade each. All of these people are amazing, authentically called, God equipped workers for the Kingdom. And, contrary to what some would believe, they’re not always happy about how things are going “at work”.

     Two other guys – Kurt, probably in the best shape of any guy I know. So much so, that he’s a professional personal trainer (who does amazing things for his clients with only a small amount of weight and very few workouts per week). I run into him at some event maybe once every two years, but I see his Facebook page much more often than that. There, I notice two things – he’s not wishing he was doing anything else, and he’s clearly on a mission to stir up peoples’ thoughts and get them thinking about the gospel. Recently, he commented: “I think people tend to harbor naive views as to what is more a thing of God than another.” Great point.


     Ron runs a large company – over 200 retail locations nationwide. I have no idea how he gets done all that he does in a given week with all the employees, warehouses, and fires he has to put out. But, he somehow finds time to write incredibly insightful content for a ministry for men called ONE TH1NG, study scripture, and present a cogent 15 minute “set up” that leaves the dozens of guys who attend thinking deeply about the thoughts of God and how those should govern their lives.

     Neither of these guys are “in full time ministry”. Yet, they show no evidence of playing “I wish” with their careers. What gives? Why the contentment?

     Cristine had an opportunity to pick up a part time job last year for a few hours a week. One of her co-workers has been deeply wounded by “church people” in her past because she identifies as a lesbian. After six months of prayerful, Spirit-led conversation, Cristine received the comment that she had “restored her faith in Christians”.

     This isn’t to brag about how godly Cristine is, how selfless Ron is, or how bad you need to inbox me if you’re serious about getting in shape with Kurt… Alright, only the former two are true. Inbox me and I’ll connect you with Kurt. The point is pretty obvious – it’s not about how difficult people are at work, how off the pay is, how challenging the workload, etc. It’s about the fact that God:

From one man… made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. (Acts 17:26-27)”

     We have all been given a time, a place… a platform to proclaim the gospel, to spur others on to love and good deeds, to urge others to consider their ways and the God who made them. To assume that we should be somewhere else is a “vertical matter” – we must all weigh seriously the leadings of the Lord who would have us move from one career to another. However, this prayer must always begin with great thanksgiving that God has indeed placed us where we are with whom He placed us for a reason. To ignore this is to call God a fool and assume He knew not what He was doing when he placed us there.

Be Encouraged
     If scripture is true, and I believe that it is, then God has placed some in “full time ministry” and others in “full time ministry” (not a typo). Enjoying the Lord most is often found in enjoying even the rough landscape upon which He has drawn our career path. There is someone in your office, your client list, your platform that needs the love, the wisdom, the comfort, the counsel, the truth and grace of Christ. Reaching them does not guarantee “graduation” to a “better” job, rather it guarantees a “well done, good and faithful servant” from the God who searches hearts and minds and will reward all for what they do in the body, whether good or bad.

    Let us find ourselves rejoicing in adversity, thanking God for His toughest assignments, and receiving eternal rewards once we have ultimately “overcome” (see Rev. 2 & 3), rather than clicking our ruby slippers together wishing we were anywhere else.

Big News: (2 of 2)


Update and Upfront

     Life happens. Trials are here to make us perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, right? Ever think “if that’s true, then this year, I should be pretty close to perfect“? 2011-2012 has been the most challenging on the job training we’ve ever received. Despite the fact that I’ve had time to send out ZERO support letters in 6 months, God has provided between 60 and 80% of budgeted support in some way or another – almost twice our normal program funding level. The Lord has been wildly faithful and we are extremely grateful! More on that and some BIG NEWS below.

Earlier this month, Aarron was asked to stand in for ministry
leader Casey Sanders at Gwinnett’s Men Step Up.

For first quarter, 2012, alone – 

  • Men have received regular 1 on 1 encouragement, wisdom, and discipleship from God’s word, dealing with everything from pornography addiction, blending families from a biblical perspective, deeper quiet time with God, to “pastoring your wife’s heart”.
  • DivorceCare leaders have been equipped and have run for a full quarter reaching a dozen men, women, & children directly and dozens beyond that where they work, live, and recover.
  • Couples have received couple on couple discipleship, wisdom, and encouragement and even been sent to a local marriage conference followed by one on one or couples’ “debriefing”.
    Through a partnership with another local 
    ministry, God has provided food for a dozen 
    families a year with about 6 of them on a 
    weekly basis.

  • Weekly food runs through Divine Resourcing have brought food to more than a half dozen families as part of our “Speak Life” programming.
  • We’ve run a panel discussion for divorced men on “Single Sexuality”.
  • Men have been encouraged to “think out loud” at ONE TH1NG, (a separate ministry led by Ron Dunn designed to “Spur men to walk with God”). Aarron and other men have led dozens of micro group discussions as part of their “ministry within a ministry” environment. 
  • Aarron also recently led a conversation at Men Step Up, Gwinnett, on Friday, 5.11.2012 (see photo above) regarding contentment in current circumstances in light of present and eternal rewards. It hit home for a great majority of the men in attendance.
  • The SOLM blog & Facebook page have been enhanced and regular content added, reaching an audience in the hundreds, soon to be thousands.
  • Our skills have been sharpened through both counseling and impartation through Trinity Psychological Services, Free Chapel, and Jesus Spoken Here Ministries.
  • Aarron has begun preliminary preparation for a “That Day” performance in October and is in talks about another engagement before then.
Argentina?
     Recently, supporters of Seasons of Life and followers of our Facebook Fan Page helped a friend of ours take an unexpected “mission” trip to Argentina. We hope to have an official update from Lily Chauvin soon, but we can tell you it was a heartbreaking trip. While there were some who received her well, she found others to be hostile to her as well as the gospel. We know from scripture that God prepares the heart to receive the gospel, but gives man the opportunity to accept it or reject it. We’re grateful for all of you who jumped at the chance to help her in her calling and honored to have participated.

Fiscal Forecast – Sunny?
     Financially, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by God prompting a number of supporters to step up their giving, completely unsolicited. (In fact, whereas normally we’ve sent out support letters once or twice per quarter, it’s been almost six months since we’ve sent out a “make the need known” letter. Glory to God.) 


    As we approach the summer there are a few transitions on the horizon and we’d like to inform everyone of the possibilities ahead for 2012, 2013 and beyond. The Lord is broadening our territory in Gainesville, GA, where the harvest is plenty, but the workers are few. This could mean carrying a wider load for Free Chapel’s DivorceCare program but also bringing Seasons of Life discipleship to a community lacking in a detailed one-on-one discipleship plan and budget to sustain it, yet rich in a deep and abiding need for it.    

     We are prayerfully moving forward one step at a time, one relationship at a time, one conversation & prayer at a time.


To help us capture a $2,500 matching
donation for 2nd quarter, click here.

The Big News:

    This presents a fantastic opportunity for people with a passion for para-church ministries, pastoral care for the hurt, broken, and addicted, as well as those who love to support missionaries in general. Currently, we are less than $3,000 from meeting our support need – for the quarter – this is a big deal for three reasons:

  1. This is the shortest distance we’ve been from the mark, ever. And this is for the quarter, not the month. Wow, praise GOD!
  2. Summer is historically one of the driest “seasons” of the year for many non-profits and ministries like Seasons of Life, yet this!
  3. God has dropped a (ridiculously timely) $2,500 dollar-for-dollar matching gift on the table for 2nd Quarter!



What You Can Do:
     Your giving power is officially doubled. Anyone who supports Seasons of Life Ministries in new giving, whether one time, “seasonal” (once/month for three months), or joins as a new monthly support family member, will help us not only capture the funds needed for the quarter, but definitively help set us up for a smooth 3rd & 4th quarter and balance the scales moving into 2013. WOW, is right!

     Pray it over, (as always), and consider whether this is the “sign” you’ve been waiting for: the need is great where we’re “growing to”. You may never personally experience the work God’s called us to do all the way up in North Forsyth and Hall Counties, but your giving will make a bold impact on men, marriages, couples, children, and disciples of Christ there. To help capture this timely gift, click here or enter “http://bit.ly/solmsupport” in your browser’s address bar.

Moving Forward
     Thank you, thank you, to all who are still lifting up this ministry, our family, and those we serve in your prayers. Great things are in the rear view mirror and on the horizon. Your “vertical” support has not been wasted. Please, keep us in prayer, join us in prayer, and tell anyone you can to follow us, fan us, like us, and pray for us.

in Christ,

AP

Monday Morning Momentum Minute

It’s All About “Heem”

     This week at ONE TH1NG, Ron Dunn pointed out to a crowded room of men that in the first chapter of Genesis alone, God refers to Himself by one of His names “Elohim” [‘el – o – HEEM] over 30 times. This begged the question: if someone spoke to you for 5 minutes and mentioned one thing over 30 times, would you guess it was an important part of the point?

     In my life, I have a love/hate relationship with going backward. I love looking over old accomplishments, photos, seasons of change and seeing the progression of where I was and where God has brought me. Some things, I can’t stand going over again, like re-doing the same work that was done right in the first place or re-hashing a point that’s been beaten into the ground. But, God… But, God constantly refers us back to one thing over and over again throughout the Old and New Testaments: Him. Good thing – He’s the only all-powerful, strong creator, who knows all, and is all.

     Jesus clarifies errant teachings of the day repeatedly in the Sermon on the Mount using the construct “you have heard it said… but I tell you this:”, implying a sort of “you’ve lost your way” theme. When the Pharisees try to trick Jesus about the nature of divorce and remarriage, He reminds them “but it was not this way from the beginning… (Mt. 19.8)” John even uses the phrase “from the beginning” about 10 times in his gospel and letters.

So, What?

     So, today, you will be tempted to forget who you are in Christ, by extension “whose” you are. You will be tempted to take over where God is “not doing His job” because sin is all about taking control of something God has already put into place.

Stop.

Remember.

Reset.

     He created the heavens and the earth. This alone could reset your life if you ponder it long enough – He who created millions of galaxies and illions and illions of stars, He is your “strong, powerful creator” (Elohim). Are you staying out of the Driver’s seat and letting Him be God? Where in your life are you refusing to “be still and know” that He is not just God, but the all powerful creator who made the heavens and earth, trillions of stars, yet calls you His own?

Be Encouraged

     When we take our eyes off of Him, He is always faithful and just and willing to put us back on track when we acknowledge His proper place in our lives. He IS our life. He promises us wisdom when we ask for it – generously and without coming down hard on us – (see James 1:5).

     May you walk with eloHim today in peace. May He keep you in perfect peace because you trust in Him.

Walking in Your Footsteps?

My son, Jezreel, walking in my sneakers.
Who’s walking in your footsteps? Watch
your step…

     This week, Jesse Whitfield is opening a discussion for men who dare show up at ONETH1NG, about “Battle Scars”. As these unique men carry on the next installment of a discussion series called “The War Within”, light has been shined on the fact that this is a weak point in a man’s armor and he dare not let his guard down in that area. As guys have opened up, many of us have come to grips with the ugly truth about porn – most guys have a past, a past they’d like to see stay exactly there. More sobering, regardless of the fact that we are new creations in Christ, as the Metallica song goes “the memory remains”.

     Many of the men have walked away from these discussions wildly encouraged by the power realized in them through the Holy Spirit and deeply edified by the knowledge that not only has “no temptation seized [them] but that which is common to man”, but also that God provides a “way out” and “battle buddies” who can help them to win every skirmish and ambush they face. Great news – this week, Jesse will talk about what to do with the pernicious memories that remain and maintaining moral purity at the core of a pornified culture that baits us to the edge. But, is this the end or just a means to an end?

     Wives’ note: you want your husband to be here. You need him to be here for the sake of his victory in this battle, your marriage’s longevity, and your sacred honor. Shy of that, you’re wise to
encourage him to stay in close, regular contact with guys who can lock arms with him and watch his back and blind spot.

     “Practical life application” is a major buzzword among churches and Christians who strive to be “relevant”. This discussion has been, by that definition, very relevant. But, one of the dangers that necessarily creeps in when that brand of Christianity stays “in the zone” for too long is an overemphasis on personal performance, rather than a focus on the sufficiency of Christ. That is, too much time spent on what the Christian does at the expense of what the Christ has done. Worse, when it stops at “my behavior” instead of “testimony of God’s work in my life to and for others” it falls far short of the reason Christ suffered and died for us all.

     As the setup goes for this week’s ONETH1NG: “What is at stake when we allow our past to creep into our present/future?” Further – who’s future is at stake? What is the impact of porn being so “normalized” in our culture on the next generation? Who is God discipling through your obedience?

     I hope you get a chance to join our discussion or join in at ONE TH1NG or with Seasons of Life as we walk with men and women just like you to “realign lives with the Way, the Truth, and the Life of Jesus Christ.”

in Him,

AP