Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Has it really been that long?!

Wow!

I haven't been on this blog in a year and a half. So much has happened in this span of time. I am profoundly happy to say that my walk with Jesus has deepened significantly. So many things have changed.

Its funny in April 2011 one year after my last post I resigned from my J O B in corporate America to pursue a life as an entrepreneur. God had placed in me then confirmed multiple times that his design for my life was to work for him and me, not to work for a company. its a lot like my favorite verse in Isaiah (40:31)

"Those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength, they will mount up on wings as eagles"

That is exactly how it felt to take the risk of soaring into God's arms rather than relying on my own abilities. Perhaps you have seen the trust fall. The exercise where you close your eyes cross your arms and fall backward into the arms of a team of people. That was me falling into his arms ignoring the advice and wisdom of the world.

I set a new career goal.

To be confident in my dependance on God to provide.

A cool yet scary goal

While it has not been easy and there have been some stressful uncertain times, while the workload is double what it was in corporate america it is worth it simply to know that God has my back, he has my finances, he cares for me he will never leave me nor forsake me.

Praise God

Amen


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sad Women

Sad Women…

Last week I commented on a blog I had been reading recently about the state of male leadership in the Church. I contacted the author, Rev. Mark Brown and talked to him today. In our discussion he asked if I had read the comments in that post. Yes I had, I told him. The vast number of women who responded to his article shocked me. Where are all the men?!


He responded "A whole lot of sad women"

He was right. As I read the comments my heart was torn out by the carnage left. It was like a train wreck with women's hearts laid waste all over the road. A failed marriage, despair, a cheating husband, apathy, ignorance. AGGHHH!

THIS HAS TO STOP!!!

WHERE ARE ALL THE MEN?!

How do we get men to take their rightful role as leaders in the Church?

Well I have a few ideas.

Not ideas exactly more like plays in a field book that has been battered and worn down.

Ever heard the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result...

Honestly I think that is what happens when it comes to men in the Church. We have work parties; we have breakfasts maybe even barbeques. Events!

A Pastor I recently met did a great sermon recently on this. Pastor Bayless Conley called it Process versus Event. We in the Church seem to be event junkies. We go from event to event speaking christianese, trying to look Holy, hoping that the next event will be the mountain top experience we seek so desperately. After all if we can get back to the mountain top we can be with our God, and all will be well, all will be right, RIGHT?

Look following Christ is a day by day, minute by minute process. The important thing about events in my opinion is they mark the mile markers in the journey, that's it. Well yeah they are also times of intimacy with our Heavenly Father and that is a very good thing. But stop, what makes you think that we can only find God on a mountaintop? He is everywhere, he is always and forever, his love is everlasting. He wants us to be in relationship with him.

So look, stop the whole event junkie crap. You might get a man's attention for maybe a millisecond with an event but not his heart.

If you want to connect with the heart of a man you start elsewhere.

Be a Man!

Here is a radical idea treat him like...a man. Treat him with respect, with dignity. laugh with him, cheer with him, sweat with him, stand with him. Here is the most important part, give him permission to be a man.

Yeah I said it. Men are competitive, they are hard on the outside, they love to play hard and respect those who will stand in with them when they do. Don't you remember the schoolyards of our youth? Back before guns and gangs became the rage and fear of the day. What happened when a boy had a beef with another boy? They had a fistfight. Often the outcome of these was not the making of mortal enemies but good and even best friends.

Let a guy be rough, let him be masculine.

Jesus was tough, a Man’s Man

Remove all the crappy expectations that my Hero, the lion of Judah was meek and wimpy. My God is a hero, he is courageous, he is a warrior at heart. He knew how to be a real man. A man who oozed masculinity. ALL the way to the Cross at Calvary.

Don't ask a Man to wear a metaphorical Skirt!

Guys don't want to come to Church and hug like the women do. They don't want to stand around with soft low voices saying bless you brother. They don’t want to stand around with china doll smiles pretending to enjoy the sermon. Nah they want to hug for real, a slap you on the back, shake your hand and laugh at a crappy joke hug that says Yeah I'm here. Yeah I see you. You are alright by me. That is the way of men. Let a man be a man.

WE START THERE…

Father walk with me through this line of passion you gave me. Help me to share the passion for your men that you have burdened on my heart. May your men WAKE UP, may they come to you thirsty, to love you, to follow you.

Let you will be done in your men

Amen

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Read a Great but Sad Post today

I was flipping through Facebook this morning and came across a headline about why there are so few male leaders in the Church today. Check it out here.

Normally I glance at articles and skip on by but this one was tugging at my heart. As a leader in Men's ministry and a guy myself I know exactly what the author was talking about. So I commented back. But this is such an important issue to me I wanted to share a piece of my comment with you here.

I am saddened by the state of the Church and the lack of male leadership. The bible is clear on this point. As a volunteer leader in my churches mens ministry I do all God wills me and I can to raise up men as leaders. I have been blessed to lead a Men’s group that is now over 60 strong with a clear vision to raise every man up to be a leader in their home, their Church and their community. AND Praise God we are seeing the fruit of our labor as my men slowly enter into other ministries intent on making a difference for God throughout our church.

Honestly I believe the Church has done little to engage men in ways that meet them where they are and stay relevant through their healing and growth. Broken men aren’t interested in hyper-spiritual platitudes or seemingly meaningless religious advice nor are they interested in being treated like a pack mule and taking on every service project that requires a strong back, good heart and a pick up truck.

Who can men trust?

That is the relevant question here. Can I get to know you and trust you the man says quietly to himself. Will you get to know me, not judge me in my brokenness, not laugh at me, not send me to a fix it class. Will you know me, stand beside me, play with me sometimes, work with me occasionally, cheer for our team with me, stand silently and mourn with me when necessary. Then I might show up and ask you to pray for me. Then I might take the risk to open my mouth and worship in front of you. Then I might take a first cautious step toward leading something.

Why are there so few male leaders in the Church? I am not convinced we (the Church) know how to reach them…

To those who lead, with diligence

Be blessed

Ron


Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Grandfather: Integrity

When I was a young boy my hero was my grand father. My grandpa was a towering man at least to a little guy he was. 6 foot 1 inches tall solid and stoic. He was the kind of guy you read about, the kind of guy you can’t help but admire. My grandpa was a simple guy took care of his family worked very hard to provide. Even in the darkest days of the great depression in the 1930’s he would do what he had to do. Work odd jobs, work on farms, hunt for game whatever it took to provide for my mom and her family. As I was growing up I loved to stand in his shadow, follow him wherever he went. If he fished I was there, if he hunted I tagged along, working the family farm I went along there too. Heads together underneath a car fixing something, cutting wood on the latest project whatever.

I remember hunting with him one hot fall day. We trudged through the woods him with his shotgun me with a stick that I imagined could take down an elephant. I was only 6 years old at the time imagination runs big when you are small. I think we were hunting for moose maybe a deer. I don’t know. I was too busy trying to be brave like my grandfather. I imagined my stick my gun was the most powerful gun that I would single handed take down a deer. All the while I was scared. I had never seen a wild animal up close and never ever seen an animal shot. We didn’t find anything that day and trudged back to our car and back to the cabin. Him disappointed and me thrilled to have spent the day with him

No matter what he did I wanted to do it.

We went fishing a lot spending time on the water waiting for a bite. I actually used to collect earth worms and carry them around in my pockets hoping that I would get to go fishing with him again. That all ended when my mom found a pocket full of worms in the wash one day. MY butt hurt for days after that!

No matter what he did I wanted to do it too.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I would say imitation was the sincerest way I could tell my grandfather I loved him. I learned what it meant to be a man from him in those days. What it meant to be a father, a husband, a family man, a leader. I learned so much from him.

The most significant thing I learned from my grandfather though was a simple idea that seems to be forgotten these days. It is a concept that people for centuries prided themselves on. It encompasses the idea of dependability, reliability, honesty and caring. It is a simple thing yet an elusive thing sometimes as we face the challenges of life.

Integrity.

Do you have a definition for this word? Do you think it is the same for your neighbor? You see this is part of the challenge everyone seems to want to define this word differently. If they do they stand a better chance of living up to the expectation. They can add conditions under which they are no longer required to live up to their commitments

Now I can throw words around like the best of them. I can write, I can argue, I can persuade with words. No problem. I can come up with a really long and complex definition to this word filled with all kinds of escape clauses. I could…

But you know in the end this really matters very little. You see you can put any words you like to integrity but what it really is about the heart of it is very simple.

Do your words match your actions?

When I was a little boy following my grandfather around I was receiving a life lesson in integrity. He was showing me that a man makes a commitment then lives up to it. A man signs up in life for certain responsibilities, to be a father, a husband, a friend, a neighbor, a Christian. With each of these responsibilities he says you can count on me to do exactly what I say I will do. Yes I might stumble from time to time, I might make mistakes and let someone down, I might hurt someone I love. Yes I might do all of those things but in my heart I am committed to the idea that I will keep my word to those around me. And when I don’t I will seek forgiveness and resolve in my commitment not to repeat my earlier stumble.

I used to love to listen to my grandfathers stories. There was one story where in the 1930’s while he was out of work and scrapping to put food on his families table he was out hunting. He managed to get several rabbits that day and was on his way walking home. His family would eat well tonight. On the way he was stopped by a stranger. The stranger a thin tall man looked hungrily at the rabbits. He said I have an offer for you. “I own 30 acres on the hill behind you and I will trade it for the rabbits in your hand.” My grandfather thought carefully on the matter. That was a lot of land, someday he could have been rich even a millionaire if he said yes and handed over the rabbits. But then he, his wife my mother and her two sisters and brother would go hungry. “No deal” he calmly exclaimed. “No deal” His family was too important to him. Here I was over thirty years later hearing the story of how he might have been a millionaire. When I was young this story was about the money for me. It was a story of what could have been. You see there was a big fancy golf course built on hat land he owner had to be a rich man. That could have been my families golf course.

But I had missed the stories real meaning. I hadn’t seen the love, the sacrifice a man had made for his family. Love, integrity that was the story that was the lesson.


There is much to this story I will continue another day...


By the way I have not forgotten the story of Extraordinary. Not at all in fact the last several months have been a study in diving deeper with God, stumbling along the way but not being discouraged or distracted. We will come back to that story as well.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Extraordinary! Ch3 Storing Up Treasure

So I am saved by grace and not by works so that I may not boast… Eph 2:8-9

Okay I get that, can’t earn your way to heaven. For we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive what is due to him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 2 Cor 5:9-10

Why? If I am already saved why the judgment? What possible consequence could there be that a judgment necessitates?

I don’t know about you but for well over ten years I have wondered about these questions and frankly no one has adequately answered them.
Well I found an eloquent answer in the pages of Extraordinary Chapter 3. Amazing to me that John continues to hit homeruns, dealing with and helping me through core issues, areas of struggle in my faith life. I read through chapter 3 wondering where John would go now that he had already rocked my perspective on God’s love.

When we die we will go before Christ who will act as our advocate telling the father this one is mine and we will be saved on our way to heaven. But there are several peculiar scriptures that talk about that same judgment in different ways and other scriptures that encourage us to store up treasures in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy. Why?

For that matter what about the Christians that struggle mightily with last minute converts to the faith. The mass murderer who repents seconds before execution. Will they share in the same eternity as us?

Well that last one is a big ole can of worms but all these arguments and issues relate to the same core issue. What happens at the judgment?

John cunningly uses multiple scripture to support the argument that each will be judged and afforded heavenly treasure as it relates to our acts once saved. If we lead an ordinary life not living up to God’s unique plan for our life, we can expect little treasure. Lead an extraordinary life and watch the treasure be heaped up on us.

Now I have no idea what you need treasure for in eternity but sounds pretty cool to be well rewarded in heaven. In fact as I reflected on this possibility it gave me great joy to think that I could do kingdom work and get rewarded for it. Not that I do so expecting reward, not at all. My purpose in serving had always been to say to God, here is an offering of love for you, I do this because I love you.

So you see as I contemplated this chapter I found myself in a new place. A place where a deep fundamental question had been answered and joy came welling up. Joy that I serve the creator of the universe and he wants to reward me for doing so. That is cool!

As I prayed at the end of the chapter content in what had been revealed, another thought came...

Don't read any more of this book for at least four days. Take the time to reflect on the challenge at the end.

  • In your life now how are you pleasing God? How might you please him more?
  • What do you believe is God's special plan for you?
More on this later

Father thank you

Thank you for allowing me to serve you

Thank you for revealing the meaning f your word

Sharing with me the reward of living for you, loving you

Amen

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

EXTRAORDINARY! Ch1-2 Gods Love

It was a cool fall day in so Cal, a day that stands out as there are few October days that stay below 70 degrees. This is the type of day I love; grey overcast and cool, threat of rain, it kind of reminded me of the steely grey days of Canada in my youth.

This day was special I had a new book to read.

I should say that I am an avid reader. It is not uncommon for me to read over 100 books a year. Yet in the past 6 months I could not even pick up a book. They simply held no interest to me. I had wondered why for months but allowed my time to be consumed with thee many other demands of my life. NOT today! Today I would crack open John Bevere's new book Extraordinary. Before I did so I earnestly asked God to reveal to me his wisdom as I read every word.

As I read this book implore me to read sequentially cover to cover I shrugged. I do that with every book I read, odd though for an author to ask for that behavior. When I got into the argument of God's love I understood why. This book builds on a firm foundation that must be built to gain the most value.

I read the chapter on God's love for us checking every scripture as I read and contemplating on each. What a powerful exercise. I ended the chapter reading John's challenge. Three points

  • Do you believe God loves you unconditionally?
  • If you do not is it based on feelings or what God has spoken?
  • Make a decision to believe Gods word.
Well as I reflected on these questions, sitting at a local park I like to frequent, God spoke to me.

You see on question 1 the answer came quickly

I don't know that He loves me unconditionally...

Heck I am not even sure He loves me.

How could He love me? How could He even know me? If He knew me surely He would be ashamed of me.

I worked through this emotion and with His help came to an interesting place. Yes He loves me, He just doesn't like my behavior much lately.

Clearly my opinion regarding His love was based on my feelings which I know to be deceptive.

The final challenge was extremely powerful for me. I believe in the gospel hence I believe in His word. He says He loves me. I heard a thought to read all the verses demonstrating God's love in the bible. I did so later that day and was surrounded by a sense of peace and comfort as I did so.

You know He does love me and He loves you to. Do you know His love.

PRAISE YOUR HOLY NAME FATHER.

Thank you for loving me

Thank you for not giving up on me

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John 3:16

Amen