Friends and Brothers we need to share some things with you. As many of you know we have been in the midst of loss. We have been walking with Jason Carter and his family through the grief and loss of their beloved daughter Katie Beth in a car accident Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. As we have all tried to deal with this tragedy we have come to the decision that we need to cancel the fall Freedom Weekend scheduled for October 6-8, 2016. Our next weekend is scheduled for April 27-29, 2017. Let me share how we got to this decision.
“Death is such an assault on the soul. Having someone you love, someone you have shared so much life with, suddenly yanked from your life is a violent and disorienting experience. Death is so hostile, so explosive to God’s design for us, the soul experiences it as trauma. This wasn’t meant to be. I think that was part of the tears we see in Jesus’ eyes, as he stands at his friend Lazarus’ tomb – This wasn’t meant to be. Our souls were never meant to go through this, so we reel like a ship in high seas. I’m grateful for Jesus’ tears. Even though he knows he is about to raise his friend from the dead, there are tears. That provides space for our hearts to express our tears, too.” – John Eldredge
We have some core values that guide how God uses this ministry – Every Man Needs
A Battle To Fight
An Adventure To Live
A Beauty To Rescue
Every Man Needs To – “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life” – Proverbs 4:23
The foundation of each of these is developed and lived out only in community. A band of brothers living life together. We have always wanted it to be evident that our weekends grow from the ground of the four of us doing life together, carrying each other’s burdens, being there for one another. It is deep in the desires of our hearts that we: “Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty.” – Proverbs 3:3-4 MSG. We have a brother down and we are convinced that we need to stay with him. It would betray who we are to go on without him. But the idea of letting men down is very painful. We exist as a ministry to fight for the hearts of men. Our hope, our prayer, is that you and all the men who are watching us will come to understand that this is really us trying to move forward in integrity fighting for the heart and family of our brother. We have to focus on being real, and being who we say we are and living the way we encourage others to live.
Again, we covet your prayers for the Carter family as they grapple with the loss of Katie Beth. We also covet your prayers for our ministry. We recognize that we currently see through a glass darkly, but with all our hearts we are trying to do what we feel God would have us do.
With Faith, Hope and Love in a Father that will make all things new.
“Women are often attracted to the wilder side of a man, but once having caught him they settle down to the task of domesticating him. Ironically, if he gives in he’ll resent her for it, and she in turn will wonder where the passion has gone. Most marriages wind up there. A weary and lonely woman asked me the other day, “How do I get my husband to come alive?” “Invite him to be dangerous,” I said. “You mean, I should let him get the motorcycle, right?” “Yep.” She shrank back, disappointment on her face. “I know you’re right, but I hate the idea. I’ve made him tame for years.” Wild at Heart – John Eldredge
Every Man Needs an Adventure to Live, a Battle to fight and a Beauty to rescue – John Eldredge
I don’t include the above quotes because my wife made me tame. I did! — I lived out of duty and responsibility – because that’s what I thought good godly men did. I have come to realize that I need adventure to make my heart come fully alive and live as the man God has called me to be. The adventures that I enjoyed as a young man have been calling me back. Things like hunting, fishing hiking have all begun to make my heart come alive.
I recently went wild hog hunting with a knife. Not a gun but a knife! A good friend of mine and I went to Chappy’s Outfitters in Moore Haven Florida for an adventure that I will be telling my grandchildren about. We got four wild hogs that day, two each. The third hog was in a dense Florida thicket which was so dense I could not see through. I could hear six dogs barking and the hog grunting and squealing. My friend could see through the thicket and what was going on. He said “quick find a tree to hide behind he may be coming our way”. My adrenalin and heart were pumping but thank God my pants stayed dry. The adventure of that day made be feel alive.
Is this enough? If the only way I can live the adventure is chasing wild hogs – me and the hogs are in trouble. I could live the rest of my days and never chase a hog and be ok. The adventure that I could not live without is the journey that I walk with people each day into the thicket of their lives. Entering into lies the enemy has planted helping them understand who they are in Christ. Hearing the pain of how the enemy has tried to distort truth and love and leading them to freedom that can be found in the unconditional love of Christ. My role in the Kingdom is to help people find a new path, a new place, to live in wholeness. This is the adventure that I would get up early and stay up late for.
To find our role in the Kingdom and live it fully alive as his beloved children – this is the adventure that I think God wants for us. We have to be willing to risk and be inconvenienced. You can’t play it safe. The adventures that I have come to enjoy in the woods again have opened my heart to more. I want to live fully alive. I want to live a life that makes people ask questions about a God that is fully alive and present in my life.
How about you….are you longing for more or just playing it safe?
May is the month we celebrate Mother’s Day. I am convinced that each of you have a mother or a woman that you love dearly in your life. As men we become too busy and have trouble speaking “woman”. The focus of this list is, doing something. Don’t just go out for dinner, buy a card. Spend some time and effort to express your affection and appreciation. Here are some easy practical suggestions to help you celebrate the women in your life.
A thank you letter – Don’t just buy a card. Write a letter that expresses what she means to you and all the ways that she has impacted your life.
Create a Playlist or CD – Music is the language of the soul. If you have a hard time expressing things with words find the music that does.
Breakfast In Bed – This can be great especially if you have kids. Create an experience she will enjoy. Do it without complaining or grumbling. If this is out of your comfort zone – stretch yourself and try. This has always been an event that I have enjoyed with my family. Check this site out for some Ideas.
Give Mom the Day Off – You can get creative with this idea. Take care of the errands, chores, meals, pets and kids. I can assure you if you do this well, she will appreciate it and you will grow to appreciate her more when you see all she does. Take this idea the extra mile and take her to a spa day while you cover all these areas.
Spend Time With Her – Gifts are great but experiences and time together bring more lasting satisfaction. Time is the real language of love. Spend time with your mother or wife in activities that she enjoys and she will remember and cherish the time.
A Couple Extra Ideas
Coupons for services or things they need. This website has a funny and practical list of coupons you can even print out.
Plant flowers she loves – I have done this several times. She loves it. The flowers are there to enjoy all summer.
Serve Organizations that Serve Women – There are so different organizations that need you. You are needed! The strength and energy that you could bring to impact a family or organization are priceless. This is a great idea if the women of your life are long distant. Go serve and send a letter to your loved one telling them of how you served in honor of them.
Okay guys, I wanted to make it simple, practical and easy. Give me your ideas. What have you done to serve the women you love? Give some ideas.
12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
I have been thinking about the passage above for a while. We usually think about this passage in context with all the miracles that Jesus did and thereby we should be doing them also. If we boil Jesus’s life and impact down to just the miracles he did we miss a part of who he is. Step back look at his life. The greatest “works” that he did was how he interacted and treated people. God in flesh talked with them loved them and lived with them in the messiness of their lives with some miracles sprinkled in. Could some of his works have been in the casual conversation he has with a women at the well, or spending time with kids that His disciples wanted to send away or in meaningful conversations with disciples around a fire or teaching people around a meal. I guess what I have been wondering is that by this verse, I haven’t been doing much based upon the number of miracles that God has been doing through my asking. But could you see evidence of my asking and trusting in Christ living in me based upon the way I interacted with people. I hope so, but I have been wondering if I should be asking more.
Beauty awakens our heart with hope. After the dark dreary winter the colors of spring bring hope. As the weather has been warming I look with anticipation for the daffodils to begin blooming. The first colors of spring, a sign of hope that winter could be over. I know it doesn’t seem very masculine to talk about a little yellow flower but it is beauty in the midst of gray. So much of our lives seem to be caught waiting for hope. I have been pondering the thought – “Jesus wants to restore hope”. Hope is defined as a confident expectation. My heart longs and wants to hope but it feels too risky or vulnerable. The thrill and joy of a hope fulfilled. As I age and walk the journey I have come to realize it is not stuff that I hope or long for but a closer relationship with Christ is what satisfies my heart. My confident expectation is that He is with me closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24) and He will give me the desires of my heart as I delight in him (Psalms 37:4).