LiveUP

 

Here is our logo.  It’s just cool.  It says in a picture exactly what we are trying to do – to call men “UP” to a higher standard, UP to the full and abundant life Jesus came to give us.  He freed us.  He broke down the walls and set the captives (us) free.  Freedom!  We are free in Christ!

LiveUP is about passionately helping men come alive…fully alive.

Stay tuned, we’ve got great things coming.

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Carver football

 

The men in our church are doing a powerful ministry with the Carver football team.  Most of you know that we have been feeding them every week this fall the night before their football games.  A lot of men have put in a lot of effort to make this happen and to a man, those that have served have come away blessed.  Giving truly is more fun than receiving.

About 10 days ago, the men of our church went to see Courageous with about 50 Carver football players and coaches.  A donor bought 100 tickets to reserve the theatre for us and then another donor kicked in money to pay for the Carver team to be with us.  While we were waiting to go into the movie a man stepped forward and offered to buy popcorn and a Coke for each of the Carver team and coaches.  You know how much it costs to eat popcorn and drink a Coke at a movie!  

The movie was powerful.  It is a great image of fatherhood and redemption.  For those young men with us, it was especially moving as many of them don’t have fathers at home.  Coach McGee gave a moving talk at the end and his love for these young men was evident.  He broke up twice trying to give his talk and I was struck by how many of his kids shouted out, “We love you coach”.  We all applauded.  God was moving.

So with that as a set up, the stage was set for an incredible event last Thursday night in the Carver cafeteria.  Ken Bevel who played in the movie Fireproof and Courageous came to speak to the Carver team after their meal.  How we got him here is another story and very much a “God thing” but I had no idea what he was going to say or what his story was.  Oh my goodness.  But before he talked, he jumped in to serve food to the team.  It gave him the chance to look each young man in the eye and talk to him one on one.

After the meal, he gave his talk.  He had a good relationship with his Dad as a little boy but then his Dad started drinking and then he became an alcoholic.  His Dad then started smoking pot and doing cocaine.  Eventually he moved on to crack and his family blew apart.  As a teenager Ken started dealing drugs.  He was mad at his Dad and felt like he hated him.  He then asked these young men, “How many of you are mad at your Dad?” and nearly every hand went up.  He had their attention.

He went on to say he went for a drug drop and while they were waiting they noticed a man painting a house in the rain and he got suspicious and they left.  When they got home the phone rang and the voice on the other end said, “This is the Duval County Sheriff’s department, we know who you are, we know where you live, we know the car you drive and we know you are drug dealer.  If you ever come back to that neighborhood, we will arrest you.”  And so, Ken knew he needed a change of scene.  He graduated from high school with a 1.8 GPA and joined the Marines.

Changing locations but not changing your heart will not change your outcome – and so – it wasn’t long before he was dealing drugs in the Marines and it wasn’t long before the Marines found out.  His commanding officer called him in and told him he was being sent to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for a court martial.  He went back to his quarters and contemplated suicide.  He contemplated going AWOL and running.  And then he remembered his Mama told him to pray and so he prayed for God to save him and in return he would serve him.

Weeks past and no miracle save came.  He went to Wal-Mart and walking across the parking lot three white guys were handing out tracts and asking “Do you know Jesus?” and he said, “No I don’t but I need to” and he was saved in that parking lot.  More time goes by and the Monitor (Marine who comes to base and looks at placements and can recommend changes) called him in.  He knew this “was it” and that she was shipping him to prison.  Instead, she told him the charges against him had been dropped.  She then asked if he wanted to know the details and he said, “No thank you” and to this day, he doesn’t know what happened.  Well…he does know.

So the Marines shipped him to Japan and there he surrounded himself with other believers, older, wiser Christian men and he grew in his faith.  He got married and went back to college and graduated with an advanced degree with a 3.7 GPA and eventually he went and got a graduate degree with a Magna Cum Laude distinction.  He served his 20 years and left the Marines 7 months ago to go on staff with the church that produced those movies.  His call is towards men and especially young black men to help them break the chain, the cycle that traps so many.  He told these Carver players, “Many of you are mad at your Fathers and never really ever knew them.  You can break the chain by becoming the kind of father you never had.  You be better.  You do more.”

It was so powerful.  20 years ago he was a young black man dealing drugs and running from the law, jumping fences and navigating the gangs.  And today – just look at him.  A strong, powerful, Godly man radically pursuing God’s call on his life.  Redemption.  New beginnings. 

An incredible thing happened last Thursday in the Carver cafeteria and God used the men of Christ Community in a powerful way.  We were instruments of God’s plans (not ours) and God powerfully moved on the lives of 80+ young men.

God moves in the life of a 6 year old….

Shared by Michael Wood

My son Charlie is 6 ½ and is all boy!  He is full of energy and is seldom still. Yet he is one of the most thoughtful, compassionate, caring, and loving boys I know.  He never fails to tell his mother and sisters that they look pretty.  I should take lessons from him!

On Monday he and his older sisters were having a rough day of homeschooling.  They had been in trouble a few times and their mother had sent them all to their rooms.  This was to separate them for a few minutes, and let them think about how they were acting.  Charlie did just that.  He sat in his room and realized he had been making some bad choices.  He decided he could not change on his own.  In his room, on his own, he prayed for Jesus to come into his heart and to help him make better choices!  Yes, my young son accepted Jesus this week!  WOW! 

He called his mom in to his room and told her what he had done.  I was home for lunch at this point and Sheri called me in and had him tell me.  My first reaction was joy and tears.  Then when I had time to think, I was completely taken aback by his ability to process this on his own.

Here is what I mean.  Men, my son of 6 realized something that many of us struggle with as adults.  He realized that he was powerless to change on his own.  He could not “try to do better” or “work harder to change” or “get a handle on his struggle”.  He realized the only one who could change him was Jesus!  Charlie prayed with a heart of pure surrender. 

I know I try to do many things in my own strength and fail.  How about you?  We all could learn something from Charlie.  We are powerless to change ourselves.  Jesus is the only way we can truly be changed.

Thank you Charlie for one of the greatest lessons I have ever been shown. 

Jesus, I am powerless to change, I am not strong enough to face the enemy alone, I need your strength to be able to…  LiveUP.

the value of facebook…

John Piper recently said, “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”

Go back right now and re-read that quote.  Ouch.

We spend so much time these days on electronic busyness – facebook, twitter, texting, email, blogs (!).  How much time during the day am I willing to give God?  The God that loved me so much He gave His only son….for me!

It is so convicting – in a good way – that nothing else needs to be said.

Men, the goal, the aim, the purpose, the mission and the call is to… Live UP!

Parenting – doing the hard work

Discipline is no fun.  It is no fun to hand out and no fun to receive.  And yet, we see time after time the results of young men and young women raised in a home without discipline.  Many parents opt out to just be their kid’s friends instead of their parents.  If they party, the parent ends up saying, “I made my fair share of mistakes too when I was young.”  If they are young and unruly and out of control (been in a restaurant lately with one of these near you?), they’ll say, “I don’t want to crush his spirit by coming down on him…”

You’ve seen this.  You know.  The inmates run the asylum.  It doesn’t work.  It does your kid no good to let them live a life where they don’t have rules, don’t have boundaries and are not accountable.

Read this from Dear Abby today…

“Dear Abby: I am a 15-year old girl who has never been in trouble, but my mom treats me like a criminal.  She makes me go to church every Sunday.  She makes me go to Catholic School, and I have to wear an ugly uniform.  She won’t help me with my homework.  She says, “I already did 10th grade.”  I can’t wear halter tops, short shorts, a bikini or much makeup.  If I tell her it is the style, she says, “Modesty is always in style”.

When I go out with my friends, she wants to know where I’m going, who I’ll be with, what we’ll be doing, when we’ll be back and their phone numbers.  If I have a date with a new boy, she makes him come into the house and tell her what school he goes to.  Then she makes him show her his driver’s license and car registration.

I can’t keep my computer in my room.  When I’m using it in the den, she looks over my shoulder and won’t let me go into chat rooms.  I have to set the table even if we don’t have company and sit down and have dinner with her EVERY night.

If I can’t afford something, she tells me to save up or budget better.  She won’t let me drive until I can pay for my own insurance.  It’s not like my mom’s poor – we travel to Hawaii and Lake Tahoe and we’ve been to Europe and on cruises.  But she won’t even pay for cable TV.  She says it is an idiot box and I should read a book instead.

She also makes me do my own laundry and keep my room and bathroom clean.  She makes me do unfair chores like cleaning the guest bathroom even though I never use it.  She wants to teach me to sew and cook, but I have no interest in those things.

She makes me visit dad every week, and i I complain about anything she says (very calmly and quietly, which I hate more than if she’d yell), “You can always go live with your father.”

She told me as long as I live under her roof, I have to abide by her rules even if I’m over 18.  And I have to go to college, and if I don’t, I’ll have to get a job and support myself.

I could go on and on.  Have you ever heard of  a mother so unreasonable?  I’m afraid to run away but I don’t know how much more of this I can take.”

Signed, EMOTIONALLY ABUSED IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Who knows if this is a “real” letter or if the Mom herself wrote it but it is striking.  Men…are you willing to do the hard work to raise your kids?  All of these things listed – the chores, the homework, the rules about dating, budgeting money, etc. are hard to follow through with.  Sometimes it is just easier to “give up” and let them eat pizza when they won’t eat what Mama cooked.  Sometimes it is just easier to let her go out with her friends and not do the investigating to make sure who she is hanging with.  Sometimes it is just easier to “do it myself” than train her/him how to do the chore.

But look at the power in this woman’s love and discipline for her daughter! 

Listen to Abby’s reply –

“Wow! your letter should be posted on every refrigerator in the country.  Rarely do I hear about a parent who tries as hard as your mom does to do a diligent job.  One day you will look back and thank her.”

Amen Abby!

This is part of the call to Live UP!  It is doing the hard things.  It is going to battle daily for our wives and our children.  It is caring enough to do the homework (and the hard work) to make sure your child is where they said they would be and to know exactly what they are doing.  It is calling your children up to a higher standard“No honey, I’m sorry none of your friends have to empty the dishwasher or clean the bathrooms – but your Mom works incredibly hard and I want you to pitch in to help her like I am doing simply because it is the right thing to do.”

It is a higher standard.  It is a better life.  It is equipping our children and training them up and giving them the skills and discipline they need to succeed in life.  The coddled and pampered child will not be able to cope the first time a professor or boss tells them to do something they don’t want to.  Part of the secret to life is doing the hard things.  The hard things make us strong and help us build our homes on rock.  The easy path makes us weak and builds our house on sand.

Live UP!