Men’s Reading Group

Alright guys! The time has come to get together and grow! I read a book about a year ago that was incredible for my spiritual growth. I enjoyed it so much that I just recently picked it up again to remind myself of some important disciplines that I need to grow in, and it hit me! This is the book that we need to read together!

Let me explain: I really want to find a group of guys that are willing to read one chapter of a book each week… (that equals about 2.5 pages per day). It might seem like a lot to someone who never reads, but trust me, it is definitely attainable and definitely worth it. You have to start somewhere, so why not now. My goal is to read the book and meet somewhere each week to talk about what jumped out at us. The book is “Good to Great in God’s Eyes” by Chip Ingram.

Here is the book! You can click on it to order it, or you can give $8.00 to me and I will order one for you.

Please let me know through email or a phone call if you are interested so I know how long we need to wait before we meet. I want to give every guy time to get the book in and have time to read the introduction before we meet together for the first time!

Thanks guys! I am excited to see how we can grow and influence each other in the Lord by reading and studying together!

 

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Avatar

Last night my wife and I and a few other people went to see the movie Avatar. I thought the movie was incredible in many facets, I thoroughly enjoyed the cinematography,the effects and creative genius was very entertaining. The new technology that was used was mind-blowing. I am very excited to see how that kind of technology will be used in future filming.

If that were all of my thoughts about the movie, then I would have to tell you that I loved it. But there were some things that I did not enjoy that I could not overlook.

First of all, what does it take to classify a movie as “R” rated anymore? Only blatant nudity and the “F “word? Here is what plugged in says about the Language alone: ” About a dozen s-words. Also, 10 misuses of God’s name (including six or seven pairings with “d‑‑n”) and three abuses of Jesus’ name. We hear roughly 20 other profanities (“h‑‑‑,” “a‑‑,” “b‑‑ch,” “b‑‑tard,” “p‑‑‑”) and three crude references to the male anatomy (“d‑‑k” among them).” It is extremely disheartening to see how standards continue to dwindle. Where do we draw a line? Seriously? Think about it… Where is your line??

Second, does anyone realize that the enemies in this movie are humans… people like you and me. We are the bad guys. The humanistic, environmentalist agenda in this movie is very disappointing. The moral presented is that if you are not a “tree hugger”, then you are a right-wing extremest that doesn’t care about life or the planet we live on. One quote about the movie said this:

“Humans, he (Jake Sully) angrily declares, have already wrecked their own planet through their greed. “There is no green” on their “dying world” because “they have killed their mother”. Now we land-raping humans plan to wreck Pandora, too, with our “shock-and-awe” bombings, our war on “terror” and our genocidal plans to destroy the Na’vi and steal their lands. So complete is Cameron’s disgust with humans – and so convinced he is that his audience shares it – that he’s made film history: he’s created the first mass-market movie about a war between aliens and humans in which we’re actually meant to barrack for the aliens.”

Some people have said, Come on, it is fiction. Oh yeah, well if it is only fiction, then keep the agenda out of it. Listen to this audio clip from plugged in, where the director himself explains the message that he was trying to convey through this movie.

https://leetomlin.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/avatar-plugged-in1.mp3

also there is an incredible article about Avatar at this link:

The Herald Sun

I wish that there really was a planet called Pandora where we could send all of these Hollywood, Humanistic agenda pushers 🙂  Now that would make a good movie!

Learn to Discern!

Wanted: Guys that want to Grow

Something that I have envied over the past year are the tweets and the status updates that mention a group of men going to their “fraternity group” or their “book and a bagel club” to meet, socialize, hold each other accountable, sharpen each other, and grow together.

As I have mentioned this idea to some, I have heard, “I do not have time to fit something else in my schedule”. I understand. But I think that the sacrifice that might be required to make time for a group like this would be well invested.

Here are some reasons that I think a mens group is important and necessary:

1. Men Do Not Have Friends
– I mean we have golf buddies, work colleagues, and church acquaintances but we are not very good at establishing enjoyable lasting transparent friendships with other men. I recently started reading a book called: “Men Without Friends” and it has explained how hard it is for most men to build friendships. I remember growing up and hearing my Dad tell me how he had no friends, and I thought that was unusual, but the fact is that it is not. Far too many men have not sought out and invested into friendships and therefore they are not being sharpened, encouraged, and held accountable like they should be! “Iron sharpeneth Iron, so a MAN sharpeneth the countenance of HIS FRIENDS!!!

2. Men Do Not Have Accountability
– Now I know, that is a scary word, but it is so important. I have heard over and over through college and through different podcasts and other methods of learning how important and necessary accountability is. The problem is: What kind of guy wants to walk up to another man, and admit that he is not superman, admit that he makes mistakes, admit that he struggles with something, and then ask that other man to help him with it? None! That is not natural! If a guy walks up to me and pours all his baggage out and ask me to hold him accountable, I have to admit, it is a little uncomfortable, and I am a pastor!!! If a group of guys meet together on a regular basis there is an automatic and much more comfortable form of accountability. The word of God says that a 3 chord string is not quickly broken, how about a ten chord string?

3. Men Do Not Grow

As I was growing up, I would go over to my grandmother’s house and measure my growth on the back of one of their doors. It was so exciting to see where I was and see how far I have come! At about 17 years old,  I stopped growing. If I went back to that door today, I would be the same height that I was many years ago. I stopped growing. Every man does the same thing physically, but worse, many men stop growing spiritually. We get apathetic, complacent, and just plain busy. If we do not make our own personal growth a priority then we will fail to grow. Every guy has a natural desire, or passion for success, an obsession to be the best that we can be. But if we stop growing that passion fades and we become less that what God intended for us to be. We must grow spiritually, mentally, and relationally.

There are many other reasons why this is something very important to me, but these are three fundamental reasons. My desire is to start some kind of mens group in January. We will study things like being a godly husband, father and leader. We will generally read a chapter a week and then meet somewhere to talk about what we read. Don’t worry! I know many of you DO NOT READ, but it will be simple, no more than a page or two per day. I am so excited about growing with you guys!!

Ladies, if you are reading this, get your husband on board… Now don’t freak him out by telling him up that you are signing him up for a mens accountability group. I don’t know if I would go to that either!! 🙂 Just tell him to read this! Thanks!

Thanksgiving 2009

Here are many of the things that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving!

These are the people and the things that bring color to my life!

Now I will mention a few specifics…

You don’t have to read them all, but I want to post is somewhere! 🙂

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I am thankful for my  savior, my salvation, my relationship with Jesus, His patience with me, His mercy, His mercy, His mercy, His mercy, His unconditional love, His faithfulness, His provision, His plan, His Word.

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I am thankful for Katie, my wife, her unconditional love, her faithfulness, her patience, her strength, her support, her hard work for our family, her tender heart, her attention to detail. I am thankful for the way she takes care of our home, our son, and our family so well.

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I am thankful for Will, he has not done much to deserve my love but He is a constant reminder that I have not done anything to deserve Gods love. I am thankful for Will because he is a motivator to be the best Dad I can be, Will is a motivator to be the best husband I can be, the best pastor I can be. I am so thankful for how much JOY he brings into my life. I am so thankful for the many lessons that He has taught me. I am so thankful for his hugs and kisses, and his seemingly unconditional love (so far).

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I am thankful for my Mom. The woman who has prayed me into the place that I am now. I am thankful for my Mom’s faithfulness, her strength, her genuine love, her quirkiness, her beautiful voice, her constant support, her everlasting joyous spirit, her servants heart like none other that I have seen.

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I am thankful for my Dad. I am thankful for the memories that I have, growing up with such a cool, strong, tough, and loving father. I am thankful for the leadership lessons, the practical life lessons, the drive for greatness  that he instilled in me. I am thankful for his support through college and into the ministry. I am thankful for the values and solid standards that He held in our home. I am thankful that my Dad made me get a job and made me work for the things that I wanted. I am thankful for a Dad who was really good at a lot of things, and who helped me to be good at some things 🙂 I am thankful for a Dad who worked so hard for my family even when I did not appreciate it, to put me in a school and an environment that would lead me to the place I am today. I am thankful for a Dad who set me up for success in many ways.

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I am thankful for my sister Amanda, and her family, Steve, Stephen James, and Spencer. I am thankful that we are able to spend so much time with them. I am sooooo thankful that they are willing to make the long drive to come and see us as often as they do! I am so thankful for the constant blessing that Steve has been to me personally and to my family. I am so thankful that Amanda was smart enough to marry Steve. I am so thankful for the boys so that Will can have fun memories with his cousins just like I did growing up. I am thankful that Amanda and Steve are such passionate followers of Christ and that they are willing to go to the uttermost parts of the earth to share the one whom I am most thankful for. (see above) 🙂

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I am thankful for my Grandparents. I am thankful for God fearing grandparents that love the Lord and Love me. I am thankful for their faithfulness and their interest in my life. I am thankful for Grandparents that were willing to pay me 4 times the going rate for mowing the lawn, although I DID NOT DESERVE IT. I cannot believe how much they paid me to mow their lawn. (even though I always aimed the blower towards the house and blew all the dust right into the windows) I am thankful for Grandparents that saw the potential in me, and were willing to pay week after week for piano lessons. Thank you! I am thankful for a grandma that cared about me so much that she was even willing to buy the Pro Active Zit Cream for me, when there was no way that I could have afforded that stuff, just so that I could clear up my face. I am thankful for Grandparents that were so patient with me and never ever yelled at me, but  showed me unconditional love and INCREDIBLE PATIENCE.

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I am thankful for Suncoast Baptist Church. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve the people here in Port Charlotte, and North Port. I am so thankful for the many encouragers that God has brought to our church. Men like, Mike DuPriest, Jeff Rexrode, Rick Rzad, Mike West, Chris Parker, Eric Cheske, Chris Reckahn, Carl Motteler and many others. I am thankful for you guys. Women like, Linda Keller, Debbie Desimio, Anne Miller, Terina Rexrode, Annie Jordan, and many many others. I am so thankful for each of you! I am thankful for the teenagers that God allows me to work with each week. I am so thankful for the teenager that really make a youth pastor feel like he is not wasting time. (You know who you are)

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I am thankful for my Pastor, Chip Keller. I am thankful for his humility, his love for Christ, his patience, his Christ-likeness, his gentleness, his self discipline, his mentoring in my life, his diligent study, his wisdom, his knowledge of the Word, his servants heart, his leadership, his openness to do new things, his relevance (even if he wont create a twitter account 🙂 I am thankful that Pastor Chip hired me, I am thankful that He has stood by me. I am thankful to call him my pastor, my mentor, and my friend.

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I am thankful for many things. But if I had to pick just one thing, I would have to say: this year I am most of all, thankful for God’s Grace. I don’t want that to sound cliche so I will be specific. Over the past year I have seen God’s grace more evident in my life than ever. There were so many ways that my life could have ended up so differently, both my bad decisions that I made, and by bad decisions that others made. To see how God protected me, and used me in spite of myself is a direct testament to the Grace of God. I am not going to bust out in song with “Amazing Grace”, I think I have sung that song many times without even thinking about Grace. But today, this thanksgiving, I must thank God for his Grace. God has given me so much. I deserve none of it. I am thankful that He chose me for this life that I live. I don’t know why, but I am reminded to whom much has been given, Much is required.

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Thank you God, for your Grace.