Right here, right now…

About 60 men gathered this morning to kick off Manschool.  We had many new faces in the room which is great.  If you asked a man to come, thank you!

Here are the slides from this morning > clear eyes 1

The opportunities before us are enormous.  There is vast territory to be claimed for the Kingdom. Everywhere you go today, every person you come into contact with, there is a chance to minister to them and to expose them to Jesus.

But many of us come into this room broken and battered by life.  We’ve chased after our own little gods and we’re now paying the price.

The good news is there is redemption.  The good news is there is restoration. That man you once dreamed to be is still there.  He can be recovered.  The real you, the true you, the one the Father dreamed into existence – he’s still in there… awaiting to be awakened.

This season we’re going to be talking about “Clear eyes, full hearts. Can’t lose”.  That is to be men with clear eyes about this life.  A clear understanding about the realities of our brokenness, the challenges we face and how the enemy comes after us.  We’ll have a frank conversation about death and the timeline of our lives.  Lastly, we’ll develop a clarity of our calling – to become a man with a clear vision of his calling and his purpose for life.

Once we have clear eyes, we can move into a life of a full heart.  We can learn to love sacrificially. We can leave nothing on the field of life.  By no longer trying to “hold onto everything” we can learn to love fully.  As a man committed to his faith, a man unashamedly “in love” with Jesus, we have no reason to fear death.  By not fearing death, we can live this life abundantly.

A man with clear eyes and a full heart … cannot lose.  We’re going to learn how and why.

Today, we heard the stories of three coaches (two real, one fictional) – men of clear vision, clarity of purpose living with full hearts.  If you know your calling, know your purpose you can live from the inside out, not easily distracted by the things that don’t matter.  I showed the clip from Friday Night Lights where Coach Taylor got Smash Williams a tryout at Texas A&M.  Right before he stepped in to tryout, Coach looked at him and said, “Right here, right now, God has placed you here to do what you do best.”

That is our call men – that today and everyday, I will step out of bed to go about my day in the role I presently have, being the best man I can be to bring Glory to God.  That today, I will leave nothing on the field.  I will love patiently.  I will speak to everyone I encounter with a smile.  That I will honor those people that are providing services to me – validating them for the job they’re doing.  That I will look for that one person today that God has put in my way to show them His love.

“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”  Ephesians 4:1

Clear eyes, full hearts … Carver FOOTBALL

Clear eyes, full hearts.  Can’t lose.  You’re going to be hearing a lot about that this fall as we enter into another season of Manschool..  It’s from the TV series Friday Night Lights and it will be the theme for this coming up year of Manschool.

Friday night football in the South is back!  Carver’s first football game is THIS Friday night at Harris County.  Carver will have a good team again this year and the coaches are excited about the year.  Carver has a running back and a wide receiver that were both named to the pre-season all-state team.  We have the true honor and privilege to serve them meals before each game again this year.  This is a very special ministry of Christ Community, one that is almost ten years old.

I want to invite you into this ministry.  As a man, it does my heart good to go spend an evening serving these young men a meal and to have the chance to love on them.

Give it a try this week.  Come to Carver on this Thursday evening at 5:00.  Carver is located at 3100 8th Street.  Drive past the main entrance to the entrance at the very far end of the school.  Loop around to the back.  We will be in the cafeteria at the far end of that back parking lot.  We’ll be done by 6:15-6:30.

serve outside of self…

Funeral Service for RJ Cummings

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The service for Carver’s RJ Cummings will be held this Saturday at 11am at Christ Community.  RJ graduated last year and played linebacker for Carver as well as basketball.  He was heading to Iowa to play football this fall but tragically, he was struck down by a bullet last Friday night.

The Carver family is in mourning.  We’ve been with the team this week, speaking to the team as a group and talking a good bit with Coach Arnold.

If you would like to support the Carver team and RJ’s family, please try to attend the service on Saturday.

Our work at Carver is never done.  We’ve only scratched the surface.  There is so much more we can be doing to impact these kids for Christ.  RJ’s death, while tragic, is also an opening for God to move upon the lives of this team.  In the human sense, his loss is a waste of a life but no tragedy is ever wasted with God.  He always moves.  He is sovereign.  He IS good.

Let’s support them on Saturday.

yet even more on integrity…

Last night at Carver, Coach Jeremy Williams from Greenville High came to speak to the team.  He is late in his battle with ALS and is on a ventilator and speaks through a computer using his eyes to control the phrases.  He gave an amazing talk.  Life’s dealt him a very bad set of cards – a son with a debilitating disease, his ALS and his wife now has breast cancer.  However, Jeremy Williams never quits.  He loves the Lord with all his heart, mind and soul and until he takes his last breath, he will share the Gospel.  He isn’t bitter.  He isn’t angry.  He could have quit a long time ago.  His life expectancy when first diagnosed was “4-5 years”.  He’s now 7-8 years into this battle and “kicking Satan’s butt” as he said last night.  A lot of these kids have plenty of “excuses” to become a statistic.  Jeremy is living proof that you don’t have to give in.  You can keep fighting.  You can be a man of integrity.

Before the meal, I asked Coach Kegler if I could come speak to the team.  In part to prepare them for what they were about to experience but to also share with them about integrity, about rising above the challenges of life.

I’d read an article on Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and shared it with the Carver team (removing all references to Clemson or his name).  Dabo Swinney’s dad was a drunk.  He left the family.  They lost their home.  His brothers were getting in bad trouble.  Money was scarce.  They moved three times and finally settled in his grandmother’s  government-subsidized apartment – a space smaller than his current office – to finish his senior year in high school.  He was humiliated but decided right then to develop a relentless spirit of self-determination.  He wasn’t going to rely on excuses or wallow in pity and become a statistic.  He was going to rise above.  Integrity.

He walked onto Alabama’s team at 6 feet, 170 pounds and played on a national championship team.  His mother was so broke that she moved into his college apartment and commuted back to Birmingham for her $8/hour job.  He wasn’t ashamed and didn’t try to hide his Mother’s presence – instead he invited friends and teammates over when she’d cook chicken and dumplings or chili.  This was his fate, his family and he wasn’t hiding it.  Integrity.

He benched his best player for the first two games of the season for an off-season drug arrest and he had to miss the opener vs. Auburn.  Most coaches wouldn’t have done that but he doesn’t suffer fools and isn’t sympathetic to a talented player who throws away his life and uses life’s obstacles as an excuse for a bad decision.  Swinney was willing to take the heat for benching his best player to make a point to his entire team.  Integrity.

He says life is all about the decisions we make.  It isn’t the cards we are dealt – our parents, our home, family problems, alcoholism, what color we are, etc.  A man of integrity rises above that and controls his attitude, his work-ethic, his drive and his commitment.  An individual’s course is not necessarily determined by the failure of others, even our own parents.  Too many kids (and men) buy the lie.  We buy the lie the devil is trying to sell us.

He is calling his men UP to a higher standard, to be men of integrity.  Satan HATES integrity.  Nothing grinds his gears more than a man of integrity.  This is our call – we are called to be men of integrity and to call other men around us UP into a higher standard.  If I am stumbling, call me to account.  If I am too proud, pull me aside.  If I am looking where I should not look, challenge me.  That’s a higher standard.  Call me UP to integrity and I’ll do the same for you.  That is LiveUP!

I close with 3 pictures from last night – the one with the kids laying hands on Coach Williams is the sweetest…

jeremy 1jeremy 2jeremy 3