no short-cuts

There is just this strong temptation to take short-cuts.  I want to adopt a “no short-cut” mentality for the next 10 years of my life.  Hard work.  Grind it out.  Do hard things.  Do the heavy lifting.  Refuse to accept mediocrity.

Adopting this mentality can radically re-orient how I see, interpret and experience God.

Every age has had is particular enemies.  Today’s western world lives and breathes a Gospel of Now.  Instant gratification is the way of our culture.  It’s the norm, the expected.

The Gospel preaches a radically different message – it is one of waiting, laboring, suffering for God to move in His time.  It’s about Him, not me.

I’m tempted to take short-cuts in work, in life, in relationships – short-cuts in money trying to make big hits vs. slogging it out slowly and patiently.

Harvesting is a simple principle.  What I put into something directly impacts what I can expect to get out of it.  My marriage.  Exercise.  The yard.  Deer hunting.  Budgeting/planning.  A job as a salesman.  Investing in relationships with others.  If I do the hard work, I get the results.  Our culture is losing this – we don’t want the hard work…we want to eat pizza and not get fat.  We want a hand out.

The economic downturn didn’t so much cause problems as it did to reveal them.  The problems were already there and began years ago – people living way beyond their means refusing to adopt the “no short-cut but harvest” approach.  As Andy Stanley says, “Direction, not intention, determines our destination” – not our hopes, dreams or even our prayers.  No, we win/lose based on the path we get on.

Something about short-cuts is mighty appealing.  And yet, Proverbs 27:12 reminds me – “The prudent see danger and take refuge but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” Usually when things go south, I play the victim card or the fairness card.  “How could God let this happen to me?” In truth, my greatest regrets in my life are my fault, not God’s.  It’s a path I got on out of foolishness and I paid for it.  Deep in my heart, I believe wrongly that I am way too smart to make decisions that will adversely affect my life.  You can’t trust your heart.  Solomon said (Proverbs 12:15), “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.”  Wise people listen to counsel and prosper.  Fools don’t…and…don’t.  And remember, success of all types is intoxicating and intoxicated people don’t usually make the best decisions.  So approach each decision with humility.

3 good questions to remember on big decisions…

Start with Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight” and then…

  1. Why am I doing this?  Really?  What’s my real motive?
  2. If someone in my circumstances came to me for advice about this same decision, what would I tell them?
  3. In light of my past experience and my future hopes/dreams – what is the wise thing to do?

And remember – “choices now, outcomes later”.  The decisions today will have ramifications down the road.  Remember this prayer – “Lord, help me see trouble coming long before it gets here.  Give me the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it.”

It’s time for the hard work, the heavy lifting.  Time for accountability and integrity.  Time to love doing the right thing with humility.  No more home runs.  Hit singles, maybe a double or two and try to play error-free.  Not a lot of glamour in that but a lot of wisdom.  I seek not the praise of men but of God above.

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Robin Carr’s summary of fall Man School — call to action

The End of the Book, or ACTION?

As we have come to the last few mornings together, I have been considering the essence of the message of No Matter the Cost, to me and to us as a group.  Here are some thoughts…

We can’t and must not go it alone; we know “alone” doesn’t work, and we know the painful hurts.  We have to have brothers. Brothers are not just friends.  Call in the middle of the night brothers.  Nice words?  Or Action?  Some of those who have such brothers must go after those men who don’t yet have “real” brothers.

We must not keep on in the same old ways: that’s not being faithful; it’s being faithless.  We must change no matter how much is “costs.”  Do you kneel – often? Humble yourself before the LORD.

Which leads to what I believe God is calling us to: RISE UP AND LEAD.  Any and all of us in this room.  “Me lead,” you ask? “Yeah, you!” says the Angel to Gideon.  This Angel was NOT no fluffy little posed porcelain beauty, but battle able strength with eyes of fire and voice of authority to command to pull down the altars of baal.  Untransformed Gideons will say “But, but…. I am the least…”

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus! Repeat that with me, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!! because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death!” (Rom 8:1-2)

Ask Holy Spirit to speak to you and show you where and how and who Jesus wants you to lead.  Size of the thing is not the point. Small or big, what is Jesus giving you the grace to do?  I am not saying “what is ‘God’s Will’ for you.”  You know that God’s will is for you to bear much fruit.  Rather, what have you been hearing Holy Spirit say to you to act on?

So every one of us men in this group is being called to get up and Lead.  If you say you don’t know what to do, then worship aloud every morning until you know.  Sing praise to Father, to Jesus, to Holy Spirit.  Your spiritual ears will hear just as the ears on your head hear your voice speaking praise.

Man School this week & Carver

We will resume Man School this Wednesday at 6am.  Our last session was incredibly powerful.  I tangibly felt the Holy Spirit among us.  Michael’s bold testimony was amazing.  We will unpack that.

Please read Chapters 13 & 14 in No Matter the Cost and specifically Chapter 14 “Deliver Us”.

I want you to be thinking about what God is saying to us as a group of men through this book.  This Man School has been very special.  Your participation and continued attendance tells me God is at work here.  Something is UP!  He is moving.

Carver – they have a key playoff game this Friday night at home (I am pretty sure this will be at AJ McClung Memorial Stadium downtown at 7:30 – but check the paper this week to be sure).  They play Buford.  Buford beat them last year in the playoffs and we really want to pay them back this year.  This Carver team is peaking at the right time.  They are hitting on all cylinders.  It’s fun to see them come together as a team.

I hope we can get a big group of Christ Community men to attend the game to show them our support.  I’ll send another post out later this week.  Please come if you can.  it should be a great football game.

Struggles and Restoration and the power of a man’s testimony

First of all — no Man School next Wednesday.  Hard to believe that is the day before Thanksgiving.  We will pick it back up the following Wednesday.  I will send a reminder out later – next meeting is 11/28 and we’ll do Chapters 13 & 14.

Here are the slides from last week and today…

man school no matter the cost 5

man school no matter the cost 6

Wow.  Man School this morning was incredible.  God moved.  You could tangibly feel men breaking free of bondage.  The Holy Spirit was present.  Michael Wood’s testimony was incredibly powerful and freeing.  There is so much power in a man’s testimony.  It truly is Holy ground and how about the power of all of us men gathering around Michael for that final prayer!

There is so much to say, so much to write to try to capture what happened this morning.  To say anything almost ruins it but I want it captured as best we can for others to read and for our future reference.

First, let me start with restoration.  Anytime we open the topic of sexual sin with men, we need to focus on restoration.  God is restoring us but we have to let Him.  We read this today from John Eldredge’s book Epic ($3.20 at Lifeway)…

“Stop for just a moment, and let it be true.  They lived happily ever after.  These may be the most beautiful and haunting words in the entire library of mankind.  Why does the end of the great story leave us with a lump in our throats and an ache in our hearts?  If we haven’t become entirely cynical, some of the best endings can even bring us to tears.  Because God has set eternity in our hearts.  Every story we tell is our attempt to put into words and images what God has written there, on our hearts.  Think of the stories that you love.  Remember how they end…

Then Aslan turned to them and said, “You do not look so happy as I mean you to be.”  Lucy said, “We’re so afraid of being sent away, Aslan.  And you have sent us back into our own world so often.”  “No fear of that,” said Aslan.  “Have you not guessed?”  Their hearts leaped and a wild hope rose within them.  “There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly:  “Your father and mother and all of you are – as you used to call it in the Shadowlands – dead.  The term is over: the holidays have begun.  The dream is ended: this is the morning.”

And as he spoke he no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful I cannot write them.  And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they lived happily ever after.  But for them it was only the beginning of the real story.  All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.  (CS Lewis, The Last Battle)

There it is.  The hope of eternity springs forth in our hearts.  Restored.  All our sins, all our dirt, all our shame, all our failure…gone.  We are restored to the glory of God’s design for us and the 80 or so years we lived on this fallen earth appear only as the first paragraph of the real story, the story of eternity.

Maintaining our regrets – I heard Andy Stanley give a sermon on sexual sin and our need for guard rails and he closed that talk by reading a letter from a lady who fell into sexual sin and then was fully restored.  Andy couldn’t read the letter – it tears him up every time he does it – so another lady read the letter and it was powerful to hear her story.  Andy then said, “the band is going to close us with this song (He loves us) and I want you to focus on that final chorus – ‘I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves us..'”

Think about that… “maintaining regrets“.  That really struck me.  I maintain my regrets.  I do.  I hold onto them and they haunt me.  As I told you this morning, I can probably recite with great detail 18 major regrets of my life with vivid descriptions of how I screwed up.  And yet, I probably can’t recite to you the 18 happiest memories of my children.  Those memories are there but I don’t “maintain” them the way I maintain the regrets of my screw ups.

And with maintaining my regrets, I am playing right into the enemy’s strategy.  He wants me to carry them, hang onto them.  He wants me to take them down off the shelf, re-live them, polish them up and put them back on the shelf.

And God wants to liberate me from them.  By maintaining my regrets, I am not believing in Grace.  I am not trusting the Lord and trusting His Word.

Michael’s testimony – I will not go into the details here.  But it was powerful.  We’ve been saying all this fall in Man School that there is power in a man’s testimony.  We’ve also been saying “don’t do life alone” and if you looked at the slides from today (man school no matter the cost 6 referenced at the top), you saw the discussion about how we need to bring things into the light.  Satan thrives in the darkness and keeping men alone in their failings.  The surest way to kill the mistake is to bring it out into the open.  If you keep it in the dark, it will eat you alive.  When a man confesses a temptation to other brothers, it liberates him.  I shared one with you today.  Michael shared his.  We all face them.  If we “maintain” them and keep them our secret, Satan can destroy us.  If I bring it to you, bring it into the light, we can kill it and remove the power we give to it.

And then Michael shared the words from Big Daddy Weave’s song “Redeemed” –

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son
Stop fighting a fight it’s already been won”

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I’m redeemed

The battle is already won men.  Don’t hang onto these mistakes.  Do not let them define you.  The past is the past.  You’ve been forgiven.  God’s great desire is to bring you to full restoration.  Don’t hang onto your past.  Embrace the future – the future of you being fully alive, sharing your powerful testimony to liberate other men and battle for the Lord’s kingdom. 

Let me end with this – back at work I opened “Jesus Calling” – check out today’s word — “Bask in the luxury of being fully understood and unconditionally loved.  Dare to see yourself as I see you: radiant in My righteousness, cleansed by My blood.  I view you as the one I created you to be, the one you will be in actuality when heaven becomes your home.” 

That gentlemen, is restoration.  Full restoration as the majestic being God created you to become.  That’s where we are going!  LiveUP!

A call to men from Rob Deloach…

Hello men of CCC, I am seeking you all out today.  I want to echo our call out as leaders in this church.  Don’t shrink to the back any longer.  We are blessed with a powerful spirit of God.  He is counting on us as we are counting on him.

If each man in worship this Sunday lifts his voice and sings out to our wonderful creator, think of how much the women and children of the congregation will feel it.  As the Father up above smiles down on His children.  Lift up your voice and be heard as we praise Him.  He loves us in spite of our faults (including singing off-key!).  Step out of your comfort zone of listening to your wives sing out and others joy as they praise.  Join in this cry out, lets bring down the house like we did with the 40 man choir.  Remember the power of the Spirit that day.  I do, and I know we can be blessed with it everyday we gather together in His name.

I know this seems small but if we can begin here we can walk forward together and then with God’s strength and mercy we will tackle the next hurdle.  I truly love each man as we share this walk together.  We are not alone, we are invested together…. so sing out to the Savior this Sunday and each one to follow.  Bring the power to the worship that is led by amazing volunteers each week.  Thank you for reading this and I look forward to you men joining me.

Rob DeLoach

man school comment

Man school is this Wednesday (11/14)  at 6am at the Church.  We will be going over Chapter 11 and 12 in the book “No Matter the Cost”.  We are dealing with “Forgive us our trespasses” and specifically sexual sin.  We will not meet next week 11/21 the day before Thanksgiving.  We will resume for a few weeks after Thanksgiving.

I encourage you to come.  So many men are struggling with temptations.  Pornography is at the top of the list as are women we come into contact with in our work.  But so too are the frustrations we have with our sex life with our wife.  We all face visual temptations, TV shows with sexual content, movies with hot sex scenes, etc.  All of these things draw us away from our wives and into the lie that “it’s better over here”.

Guys, this is dangerous, dangerous stuff.  We all face it.  I’m not immune and neither are you.

So that’s the topic this week.  I hope you will be praying for what it is God is trying to say to you in this area.  Is there something you are hiding?  Is there a temptation down the hall or on a sales call that you continue to flirt with?  If you didn’t scrub your viewing history on your PC, could it stand up to a review by your wife?  What actions are you justifying that can’t be justified?

What about your heart?  Is it time to come clean, fess up and bring this stuff out of the darkness where it thrives?  Expose it to the light and you can begin the process of beating it.

LiveUP

Man School – what does it mean to “Unleash”?

Attached below are the slides from this morning.  I read you the intro to Perry Noble’s book “Unleash“.  Here is a summary…

His mother in law has a red Mustang (OK, this isn’t red but it is the 2014 Mustang concept and…Wow!).  While visiting his in-laws, he borrowed the car for a few hours and drove around town running errands.  He usually drives a SUV (he’s been domesticated!) and so he had to get used to driving a car so low to the ground.  He tinkered with the mirrors and the seat.  He adjusted the radio to find a few stations he liked.  On the way back home after a few hours, the thought crossed his mind, “I wonder if this car has any power.”  So he stomped on the gas and the Mustang took off under him like a rocket.  He barely got control of it realizing, “yep, it can move“.

As he drove home he thought, “If I had known this car had that kind of power, I would have driven it a lot differently today – and I would have had a lot more fun while I was at it.”

He goes on to say, “Unfortunately, a lot of us look at our lives the way I treated that Mustang.  As human beings created in the image of God, we are overflowing with unlimited potential, fueled by His limitless power, yet we choose to cruise through life tinkering with the radio and the mirrors, never discovering who God has called us to be.  In other words, we never live a life that is truly unleashed.”

Just as he had been oblivious to the Mustang’s power for most of the day, most of us don’t even consider living a life that is unleashed.  Instead, we settle for average, routine, predictable.  But the Bible describes the life of a Christ follower as anything but boring.  God doesn’t want us to live mediocre, mundane lives.

It is completely possible to live a life beyond normal – to live with purpose rather than stumble through our days – to live a life marked by freedom and passion rather than one filled with regret and shame – to live in right relationships rather than being held hostage by unforgiveness – for the tragedies in our lives to make us stronger rather than crippling us – to finish strong rather than limping along in defeat – It is completely possible to move beyond normalcy and embrace the abundant life God has for us.  It is time to live unleashed!  (it is time to LiveUP!)

now…here are the slides…

man school no matter the cost 4