Man School & The Men’s Retreat

Man School

As a reminder – there is NO man school tomorrow morning nor this Sunday afternoon. We are going to close out The Quest for Authentic Manhood on Sunday April 15th at 5pm at the Church — a final closing ceremony combining the Wednesday morning and Sunday afternoon groups.

If you have been coming to Man School – or if you came earlier in the year but didn’t finish up, we’d like you to attend this closing ceremony.

We are asking each man to complete our version of your “Manhood Plan” and bring a copy of yours to the closing ceremony. Here’s what we want you to do…

Grab a note pad or journal and respond to the following questions.  Take time to pray and ask God for understanding and wisdom before you start.  Be sure to answer each question completely.  Let the words flow.  Don’t try to do this as quick as you can.  Ponder it.  Chew on it.  Listen.  Open your heart.  Each question has two parts – respond to both parts separately.  Don’t skimp on this – respond with honesty and depth…

1) What is the one thing you most need to address from your past that still affects you today?  (father wound, mother wound, unforgiveness towards someone else, the all-alone wound, personal failures in your past or recently…)  What is your plan to address it and deal with it?

2) What is the one thing you have learned about authentic biblical manhood (rejecting passivity, accepting responsibility, leading courageously, expecting the greater reward) that you most need to apply to your life today and how will you apply it?

3) When you die, how do you want to be remembered by those who knew and loved you?  What goals do you need to set in order to make that a reality (be very specific) ?

Men’s Retreat

We are about 3-4 weeks from the men’s retreat and so far only 20 have signed up.  It is going to be a great retreat – we have a great program of topics that will speak to you as a man.  We’re going to have LiveUP t-shirts and LiveUP hats for each participant, some free book giveaways, good food, a nice setting, a big camp fire Friday and Saturday nights, a worship team and some fishing, frisbee golf, pick-up wiffle ball, ultimate frisbee, etc.

This is a great chance for you to unplug from the world and devote a weekend to your personal walk with the Lord.  I know, I know….we’re all busy and April 20-22 is smack in the middle of little league baseball.  I know your weekends are precious to you and “giving” one up is hard.  I know $150 is a lot of money but think of all the other things you’ve spent $150 on and consider the return on investment.  Where’s the $150 you spent on _________ compared to what God might do with you at this retreat?

We think this is going to be a great weekend and you will come away very glad you went.  It is close to town (about 20 minutes south of Columbus) so if you have to be at your son’s ballgame on Saturday, you can come to the retreat and run back to town for his game and then rejoin us afterwards.  Don’t let the “busyness” of life stop you from investing in this retreat.

You can sign up at the booth on Sunday.  It is $150 and that covers your room, food, giveaways and the teaching.  If you need help with the fee, let us know at the booth and we’ll get some help for you.

Please consider joining us.  We have plenty of room for you.

Now go….and LiveUP!

Get off the porch…

OK so now we move on from Carver.  That ministry will continue on and grow significantly but we are shifting the focus of these blog posts and our man meetings from Carver to the radical pursuit of a life deeply knitted to God.

We have a men’s retreat coming up in a month – April 20-22.   Guys, it is going to be a great event but we’ve only had about 15 men sign up so far.  We have to battle this reluctance to step up.  It is a reluctance to invest – invest the $150 and/or to invest the time.  There are ALL kinds of reasons NOT to go – money, time, little league, things I need to do around the house and just the “I’m worn out and I need my weekends for rest.”  Valid.  Understood.  But that just won’t cut it.  There is an enemy and he does not want you to grow.  He wants you stuck in the same bondage.  He hates freedom.  This retreat is about freedom.  It is about the radical call of following Jesus.  “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…”  Isaiah 61:1

It is going to be a great event – nice setting, good food, a roaring campfire each night, a nice room for sleep, great praise music and powerful messages in a community of men seeking to walk alongside you towards freedom.  Come by the booth on Sunday and sign up.  If you need some financial assistance, we can help.  But don’t miss this retreat.

I am reading the book Discovering your Destiny and read from that on Monday night.  Consider these passages from the book…

All of us know instinctively that we were created for something more that we experience on a daily basis.  We long to experience more than we do, to be more than we are, to accomplish more than we “can.”  Something within us calls us to a larger, better reality than we can grasp – one not constrained by time, space, and resources.  Dreaming stretches us to weigh spiritual possibilities beyond our five senses.

OK, that’s good and we’re going to talk some about dreaming at the retreat.  Then the author starts talking about his dog and the underground shock fence he installed and how over time, the dog basically played in just the middle of the yard – never venturing anywhere near the fence.  Fear creeps in.  Passivity.

The sad truth is that most of us, like our over-cautious puppy, live far within our limits.  When did safety become the ultimate objective of the Christian life?  If God meant for us to live inside an invisible fence, why did He place some of his choicest servants in prison, a lion’s den, a human-sized furnace and a ship-wrecked boat?  Because they had purposes to fulfill – destinies – and God meant for them to discover the unlimited nature of His power and love, which aren’t by the way, discovered when we retreat to the safety zone.  The world is here.  It’s not safe.

You know guys like this.  They covet safety above all else.  They won’t take a risk.  They hide and shrink back and think by playing it safe, they can avoid pain.  And the writer shares this quote from Eileen Guder…

“You can live on bland food so as to avoid an ulcer; drink no tea or coffee or other stimulants, in the name of health; go to bed early and stay away from night life; avoid all controversial subjects so as to never give offense; mind your own business and avoid involvement in other people’s problems; spend money only on what is necessary and save all the rest.  And you can still break your neck in the bathtub, and it will serve you right.”

OK maybe that’s a bit harsh but the point is taken – a life of faith is not designed so we’d be safe.  Remember the question from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe about the Christ figure Aslan… “Is he safe?”  and the beaver responds, “Of course he isn’t safe…but he is good…he is the King!”  And then this last quote I will share with you…

When safety and prosperity become our passions, we can be sure we’ve abandoned the pursuit of our God-given destiny in favor of a sub-standard life.  If we were honest, we’d have to admit that this attitude is one of pure and simple fear.  We don’t take risks, we don’t dream about doing great things because we’re afraid that if we don’t protect ourselves and our stuff, we’ll lose what’s ours – or what we think is ours.  Ironically, we are never more vulnerable than when we are playing it safe.

The call to us is clear – get off our porch where we think we are totally safe and to step radically into following where Christ leads us.  That’s what Carver is all about – us stepping out of our comfort zone.  But there are other porches we must step off of – the porch of passivity…things “I’ve been meaning to do….” or the porch in our marriage where I’ll give up my priorities, my wants and my hurts to radically pursue her.  The porch of the business world where I have stubbornly refused to dream big and pursue God’s call on me.

Jesus did not come to “set the captives free” only to have those men go back into capitivity of a safety of their own making.  These are things we’ll be talking about at the men’s retreat.  There is more….so much more but this is enough (more than enough) to chew on.  Thank you for encouraging me to radically LiveUP

Carver ministry history – look at how God has moved

We had a great Man Meeting last night.  Men were engaged and energized by being in a community of brothers all striving to reach a place of radical devotion to the Lord.  Stephen Cason gave us a great opening challenge, we had great food and then finished with a recap of the Carver ministry.  I shared some comments from the book Discover your Destiny and I will put those in the next blog post but for now, we wanted to recap a timeline of the Carver ministry so you can see all of the things that have happened.  The more we do for Carver, the more traction we gain.  The bolder we are in “stepping off our porch”, the Lord multiplies the number of people coming alongside to help.  Everything the Lord has done with Carver has been blessed and multiplied.  It is simply amazing and you’ll miss it without reflecting on the timeline….

  • Patrick Grant coached many of these young men when they were younger and Patrick “birthed” the idea of Christ Community doing ministry at Carver.
  • We offered to host their football banquet last year and fed 300+ people at Christ Community.
  • Derrick Shields started doing FCA’s on Friday mornings at Carver last Spring after the banquet.
  • Coach McGee came to speak at Brookstone’s FCA and the idea was hatched for Christ Community to feed his team before every football game last fall.
  • Derrick keeps FCA going through last summer’s practices – he was there doing ministry and building relationships.
  • About 1/2 way through the fall, Coach McGee asked us to offer a devotional after every meal as a way for us to share our lives with the young men and build deeper relationships.  Everything started to change once we started those devotionals – the personal connections with the young men began to grow rapidly.
  • The principal at Carver stopped by a few times and let us know that he fully supported what we are doing for his team.
  • A local foundation heard about the ministry at Carver and gave the School $25,000 to help them equip the new weight room at the new GW Carver High under construction.
  • A donor offered to buy a viewing of the movie Courageous so the men of CCC could go together to see the movie.  Another donor stepped up and said, “If you can get the Carver team there, I’ll pay for them.”  About 50 Carver players and coaches joined us for the movie.
  • While we were waiting for the movie, a man from CCC bought Coca-Cola and popcorn for the entire Carver team.
  • A connection in Auburn heard about the ministry and arranged for a phone conversation with Ken Bevel (actor from Courageous) which led to Ken coming to Columbus on a Thursday afternoon to share his testimony with the Carver team.  His testimony was amazing and the boys were blown away that a “movie star” would come to their school!
  • An individual agreed to pray for the entire team by name each week of the season.
  • Subway and Marco’s gave us food at their cost.
  • Country’s did too and the last Country’s meal was paid for by a donor.
  • A donor gave CCC $10,000 at the end of the year designated for the Carver ministry.
  • We pulled off our second banquet a few weeks ago feeding 325 people in an amazing night where all the pieces came together.
  • We wanted to do something nice for Coach McGee – really nice – to love on him and thank him for his service to Carver.  A donor gave him a week at the beach this summer at a beautiful condo over the 4th of July.
  • A dentist in our church has offered a free dental exam, cleaning and x-rays to the entire Carver football team over the summer to make sure they are in good shape with their teeth and to see if there are any major problems that need to be addressed.
  • A doctor in town is quarterbacking our effort to help Carver with the team’s nutritional needs – what kind of foods to eat, what to avoid and to help us make sure they have the right fruit and liquids during the hot summer practices.
  • We are talking to another doctor about possibly being the team sideline physician during the games so if a player gets hurt, a orthopaedic surgeon will be on the sidelines to help.

When I reflect on this timeline, I am amazed.  From Patrick Grant’s little mustard seed….just look at what all has transpired.  From a bunch of guys saying, “let’s make this a ministry….” just look at what all has been added to that ministry!

Personally for me, you all have blessed me immensely through this ministry.  I’m blown away but what I’ve seen you do and to see your hearts for these young men.  There is so much more we can do.  Dream big!  LiveUP.  To God be the glory….

Pictures from Carver

First of all – Man Meeting is next Monday night at 6pm at the church.  We want as many men as we can to attend.  We’ve got some great stuff to share and we’ll reflect on the Carver banquet and just celebrate that ministry.  If you’ve been a part of the ministry, please come.  If you haven’t – still come because you will be empowered by what you hear.

Email Michael Wood at to reserve your slot and so we can make sure we’ve got enough food.

Here are a few pictures …

Carver Banquet & Going deep

Wow.  We did it.  Another incredibly successful Carver football banquet and you guys did an amazing job.  We fed 325 people a great meal.  The service was incredible as was the food and the clean up crew had the building fully restored in about 45 minutes.  Simply amazing.

It was great to be with those kids, to hear Coach McGee talk to the team and their parents and to hear the message.  For me personally, it was great to see these young men I’ve gotten to know this year and to hug them, look them in eye and tell them how proud I was of them.  It is such a blessing to be a part of this ministry.  It truly is better to give than it is to receive.  God is so good.

We’ve got a ton of things happening.  Amazing things.  Great ideas are springing to life around the ministry and we have much to share with you and we’ll do that at our next Man Meeting…

Man Meeting – Monday night, March 19th 6pm at the Church. 

If you’d like to come, email Michael Wood at and let him know you are coming so we can plan for the dinner.

If you helped with the Carver ministry and this banquet, we’d really love for you to be there on the 19th.  If you couldn’t come to the banquet but wanted to be there or are just interested in what we are doing, we’d love to have you come and hear.  Any man at CCC (or friends) are welcome to join us.

We’ll also preview our men’s retreat coming in late April.  You can come to the LiveUP booth Sunday and get a card to reserve your slot for the retreat.  It’s going to be great.  Good food, great messages, fellowship, fishing, big roaring campfires at night and some time away to process what God is saying to you.

So the man meeting will be a great time of celebration and for you to hear first hand what God is doing.  We hope you will join us.

The retreat is a time to go deep with God.  Let me tell you what LiveUP isn’t.  It isn’t a “movement”.  Movements are exciting.  I’m drawn to them.  We hear some rallying cry and we jump in with both feet, get jacked up and that’s about it.  Movements can draw 50,000 men to a stadium.  1,000 men wide, one inch deep.  We’re not interested in that.  We’re interested in depth.  Real depth.  We want to plow the ground deep, dig up the problems and obstacles and roots and mulch in rich new soil…God’s word.

I’m not intersted in a rah-rah men’s movement.  I’m interested in deep community.  Deep fellowship.  We have these issues that nag at men – be it our marriage, our idolatry (porn), our shame, our wounds or just the busyness of the life that keeps me from getting real with God.  Let’s don’t stay there.  If your marriage is struggling, let’s go deep and fix it.  If you’re struggling with pornography, let’s don’t just stay there.  Let’s break it.  If there are wounds from your childhood, let’s go after them, deal with them and release them.  We want men fully alive as Christ came to set us free to be and we can’t get there in a rally.  We get there in a community of men who has each other’s backs and is united in calling each other UP to a higher standard and the full life.

We’ll talk more about this on Monday the 19th at at the retreat April 20-22.  Men, we love you and are blessed standing by your side.  To God be the glory.