Yearly Archives: 2013


Jeff Knapp: When You Hit Empty

Posted by in Faith | February 19, 2013

solitude

Editor’s Note: The world will never know the full weight of the work Jeff Knapp shoulders without complaint. A true disciple, he wrestles with the greatest truths and works tirelessly to impart them to our youth. It is encouraging to hear Jeff open up about the times when he hits empty and relies on God to fill him up. His thoughtful reflection on a recent Solitude Retreat and the lessons he learned are well worth your attention.

I believe the children are our future. And this isn’t just a play on words to remind you of an old Whitney Houston song. I really believe it! I believe it so deeply that I pour myself out, sometimes past the point of exhaustion, in order to invest in them. However, sometimes the pouring out seems to come from a shallow well, while other times it seems to be a roaring waterfall. This past weekend, I was blessed to discover a waterfall.

Back in December of last year, I was approached by a friend at Perimeter Church who invited me to be the guest speaker at their annual Solitude Retreat. This retreat is only for high school students and focuses on getting students away from the distractions of their regular environment and taking time to be alone with God. I said yes without any hesitation. This was an opportunity to not only impact the Brothers of IRON and FIRE who would go on the retreat, but also to impact their peers. This was also a great opportunity for partnering with the local church in order to support her in one of the intentional ways she is forging the next generation.

Little did I know that this would end up being one of the greatest challenges and blessings of my life to date. It started with preparation…

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IRON and FIRE Welcomes our Newest Team Member

Posted by in Brotherhood | January 28, 2013

Shana

Editor’s Note: Shana Cash will be serving IRON and FIRE as our Administrative Assistant – helping with various aspects of the ministry including donor relations, communications, operations, and marketing. Shana graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Marketing. She has worked in various industries such as banking, marketing, call center management, account management, and donor cultivation. Shana is married to Tom (almost three years) and they have one son, Taylor (15 months).

Shana is passionate about serving her Lord and her family well. Several years ago, the Lord revealed her life’s calling to serve ministries through the gifts and talents that He has given her. Shana says, “I am thrilled to join Jeff and the team at IRON and FIRE. I have watched this ministry grow from an idea on paper to one that is daily fulfilling its mission. It is truly a privilege to be a part of the transforming work that God is doing through IRON and FIRE Ministries in forging the next generation.”

Welcome Shana! We’re so happy to have you.

Greg Robbins: The Disgusting Lies

Posted by in Faith,Temptation | January 21, 2013

creepy forest 2

Editor’s Note: Greg, like many deep thinkers, has struggled with doubt and self-worth, and has written a lengthy post taking us through his journey of claiming the truths of God, in spite of the deeply entrenched lies of the evil one. The sincerity in his voice is evident throughout as we relive his anguish and struggles in fighting against his old mindset as he becomes a man of God.

“It is now winter break, and since spending time as a brother of IRON and FIRE over the summer, a lot of things have happened in my life. Though I have done things that I am not proud of, God still, over the last few months, has worked on me greatly in growing me away from my fearful flesh and more into a man of God. I am learning to trust and receive His love and truth and to fight as the warrior He created me to be in The Spirit, adding onto what He did in me over the summer as a brother of IRON and FIRE and what He has done throughout my life. 

Here is a little about where I came from, before I started doing community with Iron and Fire. All throughout my life I have greatly struggled with very heavy amounts of fear, insecurity, constant doubting of almost everything, a misplaced self-identity, and a lot of anxiety, stress, worry, self-hatred, and confusion. Much of this came from a rocky childhood in which my biological father left me at an early age. Though my mother got remarried a few years later, and my step-dad adopted me legally as his own son and treated me like it, there was a lot of damage in me that was never resolved, and which has carried into my life even until today…

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Logan Rhea: True Brotherhood

Posted by in Brotherhood | January 14, 2013

friends

Editor’s Note: Logan’s heart for the things of God shines through this post. It should be encouraging and perhaps a bit convicting when he speaks about the importance of discipleship, mentoring, and investing in other brothers throughout our lives. Thanks for giving us a peek into a college campus being impacted by the intentional actions of our brothers.

“True Brotherhood is making a huge impact on my life right now. My name is Logan Rhea and I’m a college student at Middle Tennessee State University. Campus Crusade, or Cru, has brought a lot of benefits and awesome resources to help me grow in my walk with the Lord and become a stronger leader and man of Christ. Life is about relationships and what we do when we encounter them. We can encourage and share and bring one another up in Christ or just go through the motions and be afraid to get real and ask the hard questions. I’ve found that when you take the time to get lunch with someone and take your own time to love on and be friends to a fellow brother or a person in a dark place in their life, Christ’s love and the Holy Spirit just can’t help but shine through your actions and words. As our relationship with Christ grows, it is portrayed in our daily lives.

All this said, I’ve been given some amazing brothers in Christ here. We’ve been able to fellowship and truly do what Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” It’s been really cool to see God at work in our lives as we share our stories of surrendering our desires and needs for things that won’t satisfy and giving them to God. When we trust God in times that are tough and great, we develop a stronger faith.

Anther cool thing about the true brotherhood here is fruit and evidence of listening and walking by the spirit. For instance, we had about 20 people over at my house on a Saturday night for a bonfire. I got some of my brothers and sisters in Christ and challenged them to be intentional about showing and sharing God’s love and their testimony of what he’s done in their lives to some of our non-Christian friends that were there. We ended up talking in different circles about passions, life issues, and the meaning of life till about 1 am! Then 7 of us went and had a “house church” spirit-led bible study on James. We talked, prayed, worshiped, and listened to each other till 3 in the morning! Now it’s a weekly study for anyone to come! God is good and his presence is active.

One last note about the brotherhood and importance of investing in one another’s lives and making disciples; I’m doing a study on a book called Discipleship Essentials with an older brother who’s taking time to invest in me once a week. The book is great and has broadened my perspective on this issue. Investing in someone is so important as believers in Christ and it has a ripple affect as the body of Christ grows. For instance, in one year if you took time to disciple/brother/mentor and invest in just 2 guys it would leave an impact that only God is capable of. Teach them how to make disciples and then each invest in 2 guys for a year. Now we’re up to 4 disciples in 2 years. The same pattern goes on: those 4 guys invest in 2 each, which leads to 8. That leads to 16, then to 32, then to 64, then to 128, then to 256, then to 512, then to 1,024, then to 2,048, then to 8,192, then to 16,384, and so on. Just imagine after 16 years since your investment in just 2 guys, 65,536 brother in Christ will have been impacted since then! They would all be making disciples and the biggest thing in all of this is how God would shine his love through them not just to the disciples they’ve made but also to all of the people they come into contact around the world! It’s the beauty of the reality of the great commission and the joy of making disciples! Keep living for the king, putting everything in Him first and make the most out of every opportunity to let Jesus shine through you!”

Your brother in Christ,

Logan Rhea

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Kevin Kubandi: You Don’t Have To Prove Anything

Posted by in Faith | January 7, 2013

ocean

Editor’s Note: Don’t let the brevity of this letter blind you to the immense truth Kevin bestows upon his younger self. An entire life can be changed in half a sentence and Kevin gives enough advice in this single paragraph to pull most kids through some pretty challenging years unscathed. Thanks to Kevin for condensing his advice into a powerful piece we’re pleased to share.

Dear younger me,

I didn’t know how to start this letter so I’m just going to jump into it. Please live every day like there’s no tomorrow. Treat people better than you would treat yourself. The loudest voice in the room is not the wisest. Listening will get you further in life than arguing. Listen to your farther. You don’t have to prove anything to him; he corrects you because he loves you. Never stop showing your sisters you love them; they might not always acknowledge it but they love you more than you know. Work hard at everything you do. God has given you a gift so don’t waste it. Honor your mother. As much as you think she loves you, she loves you even more. The sport you play does not define you. The parties you go to don’t define you. The girls you date don’t define you… You are who God says you are. So read your bible and find out what he says about you. Treat the girls you date like you would want your sisters and mom to be treated. Value your family and friends and don’t just say you love them, show them. Don’t sell out. You have a dream; hold on to it, no matter what other people say to you.

Hey, you’re going to make mistakes. Admit them and get back up.

KEEP FIGHTING, LIVE FOR CHRIST, AND HONOR YOUR FAMILY.

You’ll be alright kid. You’re a fighter. Plus God’s got your back… Be blessed.

Kevin Kubandi

Stephen Jaques: A Prince Is Proud but Not Vain

Posted by in Faith,Temptation | January 1, 2013

Editor’s Note: Stephen has written a really powerful post for us to kick off this new year. He starts with light-hearted advice to his younger, more awkward self, and slowly delves into the heart of the things that he will be at risk of in high school and college. He gives excellent advice concerning the opposite sex and in fighting against idols. And he ends the piece with a powerful reflection on what it means to be a Prince. Thanks Stephen; you give us all hope and a clear path toward claiming our inheritance in God and stewarding it well.

To a younger me,

I know you. Right now you have just finished 8th grade. In a month you will turn 15 and in 3 months you will start high school. I’ve almost forgotten how naïve and socially awkward you were. The struggles you are going through still impact me today. I have so many things that I wish I could tell you but I will try to boil it down. I’ll divide it into spiritual and non-spiritual stuff.

First, the non-spiritual. Ditch the jean shorts. Get rid of them! Burn them and forget you ever wore them haha! Also, wear shirts that fit, not too bulky or too tight. You have several important places to make friends (senior high youth group and high school) and dressing well will help you avoid looking like an awkward homeschooler. Don’t judge others by their appearances but understand that people will judge you by yours; so go buy some polos and khakis and a decent pair of shoes. That said, always remember, it’s the man that makes the clothes, not the other way around. Don’t put your identity in your appearance.

I suggest learning the slang so you don’t get laughed at for not knowing the jokes and references. Learn the terms of your peers. Go catch up on your movies as well. You may have been raised in a cave, but now’s the time to start respectfully pushing some boundaries. Don’t make an idol out of parental approval.

And be excited! You have big things ahead of you! The cross country and track teams are going to be great experiences. Run hard. Be tough. Don’t be afraid to go out hard at the beginning of the race; you will be trained well enough to finish strong. Do not fear failure. Coach Clanton will be one of the greatest men you are ever around. Additionally, do your homework. I’m at UGA because of your self-discipline.

Let’s see, what else? Oh yeah, get a different summer job than Publix. They’re nice people but they won’t give you enough hours.

I know you have some assumptions about how life will turn out. Let me burst one of your bubbles. Our family doesn’t have unlimited money; so if you want a car or some other big-ticket item, you better find a job that can pay for it. You go to a rich school but don’t expect everything to be paid for by Mom and Dad. It’ll save you some disappointment if you realize that now rather than a few years down the road. But be thankful for your comfortable life. God didn’t have to give it to you.

Speaking of comfort, get comfortable with yourself but also branch out. I know you can be quiet and you are not extroverted but please go talk to people. Seriously, be aggressive in pursuing friendships. Be friendly and don’t be afraid to cut it loose. It’s fun, I promise. You have to stop being so worried about whether or not people will judge you. Perimeter’s youth group will be the hardest place you ever have to break in. But it will be worth it. God is doing great things there; and you will meet some amazing people and have amazing opportunities to serve!

College is still a few years away, but I’m going to tell you a couple things about it. First, if it’s not the greatest four years of your life, don’t worry about it. After all, it would be depressing if the best times of your life were behind you when you graduate at 23. I know you will be burned out after working hard in high school, but don’t give up in college. Push through, get good grades, and find a couple organizations to join as well as places to serve. You’ll find a special place to serve the poor and disadvantaged, but don’t forget to serve where you live, work, and play. Once again, put yourself out there and meet people.

There’s one big thing I haven’t talked about yet. Girls…

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