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Yearly Archives: 2013
“The Gospel is a simple message to grasp; and yet it also has huge implications and so much to say about living life that there is no way we can cover it all in one place. The gospel is multi-faceted and all of the implications should be considered; because, to just walk down one path repeatedly, would mean missing out on other aspects. For example, talking about freedom in Christ exclusively might lead to licentiousness – but not talking about it can lead to legalism. Today, and over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about the cost of being a Christian; and this entry is about the cost, at the risk of downplaying the joy.
The closer I get to the Gospel, the more I realize that there are certain parts that are really unpleasant to act upon. Gospel Lite as Steve Brown calls it, is really easy to sell. The Gospel however, is impossible to sell. Everybody loves hearing about eternal life, free grace, and all the other wonderful things about Christianity. But nobody wants to hear about being hated for being a Christian. Nobody wants to hear about living a step or two below your means so that more of your resources can go to the needy. They’d rather hear about God blessing people with prosperity. And I don’t blame them.
When you grow up in the church like me, it’s really easy to start thinking in a bubble because you lived in a bubble. John 17:14-16 is the foundation for the phrase being in the world, but not of it. It’s one of the greatest challenges we face as Christians. It’s really easy to be a Christian when your life is spent living in Christian fortresses like mine. Inside you have to deal with things like self-righteousness, but nobody thinks you’re stupid for being a Christian. Nobody laughs at your decision to wait until marriage to have sex. Nobody assumes that you are intolerant. And nobody makes you feel uncomfortable when you talk about Jesus. But after some time at UGA, I came to the realization that the Christian was never intended to live in the fortress. They’re meant to live in the world; to be salt and light. And that’s costly, and difficult, and requires a lot of grace, because it’s really easy to become of the world, and not just in it.
I worked at Snelling Dining Hall for three years during my time at UGA. Originally, I was just there because I needed the paycheck; but eventually, I made a lot of friends among my co-workers and began hanging out with them during my senior year. Through these friends, I met a girl and we hit it off at the beginning of the spring semester.Read more ›
Pictured above, some of our brothers participated in a service project a few weeks ago, and more recently got together for a night of Football Food and Fire to kick off the 2013 season. The special kind of bonds that are created when working and playing become really important as our young men graduate, find employment, and figure out that these relationships will enrich and add stability to their lives as they begin families of their own. We’re glad to create and participate in these opportunities to grow closer to one another and enjoy this season of our lives.
Forging the next generation of fathers. This is not only the heartbeat of IRON and FIRE, but should also be the heartbeat of all men.
In a small region of mid-Africa, there was a huge problem with the over-population of elephants. This problem led to destruction along the countryside. The people in this area decided to take care of the problem by killing all of the bull or older male elephants. This would obviously decrease the population directly due to no re-population. Now, one thing you need to know about Bull elephants is that they are kicked out of the herd when they become adolescents. And when they are kicked out of the herd, they usually go and find a bull elephants to follow. During this following process, the adolescent elephants learn about everything it means to be a bull elephant.
So, as you can imagine, when there were no more bull elephants to follow, the adolescent male elephants started to form gangs. In these gangs they had to make up what it looked like to be an older bull elephant. The gangs of adolescent elephants started to destroy villages and killed many people. After a lot of scientific research and attempts to resolve the growing problem, no one was able to stop this gang of elephants until an old chief in the area told them to find an older bull elephant. They airlifted an old bull elephants from southern Africa to this area. They waited for about two weeks and then suddenly spotted the older Bull elephant walking out of the woods with every single adolescent elephant following him. The villages never had a problem again.
That is the unique hardwiring that God has given to men to have extreme power and influence.
This is a story from a breakfast IRON and FIRE just partnered with Perimeter Church to put on called, The Power of a Man. We as men have been given a unique gift and responsibility to use our power in teaching, correcting, exhorting, and encouraging. The statistics and exhaustive evidence is glaring about what happens when men either remove their power or use it negatively. There are certain things that can be said by men that carry a different weight because they are a man. Power is most offend gauged by its effect when it’s gone.
IRON and FIRE got a chance to take a lead role in this event by having Jeff and Micah Mabe, a brother of IRON and FIRE, answer questions on a panel. It was a great time of discussion and feedback about the struggles young men face today. The panel was very helpful in fleshing out certain practical issue about the power a man has and ways to live that out. The breakfast also showed one of our video about Micah’s story and it was extremely impactful. Not only because of the honesty of his story, but also because of the connection it made between him and his dad.
IRON and FIRE loved getting the chance to partner with Rick Johnson and Perimeter Church in forging the next generation of fathers. We also loved getting to speak with and partner better with the fathers who were there and continuing to encourage them in the responsibility they have as fathers. It was a great day of putting an end to the evil one’s lies and standing up for who we are, as men in Christ. May men put to death any generational sins that have been left by past fathers and cling tightly to a new identity, a man that is identified in Christ – because that man has power.
We will also have a booth set up afterwards to answer questions about our ministry and help raise money toward our matching grant as we close out our fiscal year. To learn more and sign up to attend, check out the details below.
“Today’s culture is blurring the lines more than ever on what it really looks like to be a man. The lines get even more blurry if you seek to be a man of God. Society places a high value on success and accepts the collateral damage of families, relationships and faith. But what does it really mean to be a man and a Christian?
Join us for breakfast as best selling author Rick Johnson shares how men can have impact in their lives of those around them by living up to the calling and purpose that God created them for. Have an impact in the lives of your wife, children, families and co-workers by discovering The Power of a Man.”
Where: Perimeter Church, Fellowship Hall
9500 Medlock Bridge Rd
Duluth, GA 30097
Cost: $8.00 (includes breakfast)
(Appropriate for ages 13 +)
Sign Up Here
When I was driving the other day, one of the guys in the car was talking about a sweet car that his dad had and then another guy piped up and talked about his dad’s motorcycle. Then they started to talk about having these different lake or beach houses and memberships to the best clubs. It struck me in that moment that I will probably never have any of these things. Then I thought, “What if my future son was in that car? Would he be thinking, ‘man my dad is lame, he doesn’t have any of those cool things or places.’ What if he mentioned my old 4-cylinder truck or the place we lived and the fact that, not only do we not have multiple houses, he shares a room with his brother? Would he be so ashamed that he thought making up something would be better than telling the truth?”
So I started to ask myself, “What would I want my son to say in that car on that day? Would I want him to stay quiet or skirt the truth so I sound cooler to his friends?” After all, I do have a deep desire to be liked and approved. I want to be put in the categories with other dads who are successful and wealthy. I want to be able to give my son things to be proud of and make him feel valued. It sure seems like that’s what gets you talked about by your son in a car full of kids bragging on their fathers. Then I realized my desire for approval and value had sunk to a conversation between teenage kids. Why do I even care?
I sank for a second under the weight of all this and thought, “What if I fall short of worldly approval from my son? Is that all I have given him on which to stake his life and purpose?” Then, quietly in my heart I cried out, “Jesus, let me be a father of eternal things.” I want my future son to know Jesus and that is the best gift I could ever give him. Even with all the money, houses, cars, status, fame, and success, there is still only one gift you can give your sons that is eternal; and that is Jesus.
Recently, I attended a funeral for the dad of one of my close friends. It happened only a couple of days after my friend had been married. As I was traveling to Montgomery for the funeral, I was trying to make sense of everything that was likely going on in my friend’s head. I wondered, “What would I say of my father?” then, “What would I want my future son to say of me.” These thoughts swirled around in my head until my friend got up on stage and spoke of his father. His father was a very successful and wealthy man; but his son spoke none of that. His son talked about his father’s spiritual impact on his life and the legacy he has left. Then he said, “I want to tell you my dad’s favorite story.” I was ready for some wild, crazy story with a comedic ending. But, instead, he gave everyone a story that will continue to endure throughout time – the story of the gospel.
That was it. I saw then a clearer picture of what I would want my future son to say. I want to give my son all the time in the world to spend with me, as my heavenly father has given me his time. I want to be slow to anger and abounding in grace and love, as my heavenly father has been with me. I want to guide my future son toward purpose and identity, toward knowing that he is a child of the king, just as my heavenly father has done for me. I want to be a father who looks my future son in the eyes and says, “Well done. I am proud of you.” not because of his success, but because he is my son. How deep a picture is this of how the heavenly father looks on Jesus and then on us. May this be the call on my heart as a future father, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. Make important to your sons the eternal, not the perishing.
“Believe it or not, I am an introvert. I get my energy from being alone and when I am around people for too long I become exhausted. Maybe this is why I have such a hard time entering into true community with other people. Who knows? What I do know is that we were created and designed to have community with other believers. However, this is no easy task, especially for me. I have struggled from high school to college with having community with believers. It’s not that I don’t like people; I love people! The difficult part is opening myself up to others. Having to be vulnerable with others is something I’m not very good at. I love to listen to others and help them work through their problems. But when it is my turn to open up and share, I struggle. My thought is that I don’t want to burden others with darkness in my heart. I feel as if what comes from my tongue does not always have worth and that what I say will either weigh others down or will fall short of being encouraging. This is where I have to constantly look to God and His character.
God in his flawless, powerful, triune character is the ideal example of community in and of Himself. The Father is in perfect unity with Christ and The Spirit and they act as one to glorify themselves. It is in this that we can see that even God needs community and uses it to do His will. Each part of God is different. The Father is powerful, awe-inspiring, creator, designer, merciful and jealous. Christ brings characteristics like humbleness, servant hood, sacrificial, lord, and king to the table. And The Spirit is the one who guides, counsels, convicts, teaches, and reminds us of truth. These three persons work together in community as one deity. If I am to imitate this community, I have to learn a lot from the example that has been set before me.
I cannot continue in this life alone. I NEED Christ and I NEED his followers. I need to trust those who Christ has called to Himself. I need to be able to be vulnerable in order to show how He has given me grace and mercy so that Christ can be glorified. I need to seek the true community that has all kinds of people from all different types of life that live life together and use their unique gifts to create the body of Christ. I need to let Christ use my tongue to encourage my brothers and trust that He knows what they need to hear. I need to share my burdens as well as taking on my brothers’ burdens.
This is why Jeff Knapp and CORE 2:42 has been so influential for me. Jeff continues to tell me to use my tongue when I feel as if my words are worthless and encourages me in my strengths and tells me to trust Christ in my weaknesses. My brothers at CORE 2:42 force me to be vulnerable by opening up their hearts. Without these people I would not be where I am today. I would be still be searching for who I really am. But through this community of brothers who want to struggle and celebrate with me, Christ is exalted. And that is how it is supposed to be.”