Trey Reed: A Father to the Fatherless

Posted by in Faith | September 17, 2012

Today I reflected on not having a father my entire life.  This train of thought was partially false and partially true. The part that is true is that my father, John Dewey Reed II was taken from this Earth on May 9, 1991 and i was born May 27, 1991. All I ever knew of my father were stories that I treasure to this day more than anything else in this world. So literally, the man I am named after, resemble and come from, was never there for me by no choice of his own (though if it was his choice, I know he would be sitting next to me, swapping stories and that my life would be very different).

The false part of my train of thought earlier today was that I did have a surrogate father. As cliche as this may sound, God has been my father my entire life. When a man marries a woman and starts a family, his number one priority is to provide for and care for that family. His number one priority is to work as hard as he can to make a better life for those he loves. In my father’s absence, God has done this. My heavenly father has provided for me and my mother in some of the toughest of times. Even when it seemed like we were going to sink, God was working behind the scenes to keep us afloat. Amazingly enough, God directly and indirectly molded me into the man I am today.

Growing up without a father had its many gloomy moments, and when I look at the statistics, I see that I had the odds stacked against. I was 9 times more likely to drop out of high school than normal boys that didn’t come from broken homes; 32 times more likely to end up homeless, on the streets; 10 times more likely to end up addicted to a chemical substance and 20 times more likely to end up in prison…

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Marcus Grimaldi: fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen

Posted by in Brotherhood,Faith | September 10, 2012

I had a really close friend, Logan Chesnut, who was diagnosed with Leukemia about 2 years ago. Every week, I would talk to him about God and what Jesus did for all of us.  At first he didn’t think that Christ was the only way to heaven, but being a good person was.  He believed there was a God and that he created everything, but he didn’t really understand, or live for Him. 

Over a period over a year, his Leukemia went away and he was almost home free, but I still continued to talk to him and ask where he stood in his faith with Christ.  He was never too sure and could never really give me a straight answer.  A few weeks later, his leukemia came back and was worse this time.  He dropped from 165 pounds to 106 pounds and was basically withering away.  I still continued to talk to him about what it meant to be a follower of Christ and how to do so.

He told me that the reason he stayed friends with me for so long compared to anyone else was how I carried myself.  I didn’t cuss, drink, I was polite to everybody, and I cared about how he was doing, visiting him multiple times a week in the hospital.

One night I was compelled to call him one more time and talk to him about Christ.  I asked him where he stood on his faith and he replied to me that He had accepted Christ into his heart and was baptized in his home (unable to go into public because of his leukemia). I literally broke down crying I was so relieved by his decision.  

The next week I was planning on visiting him at his house before I went back to school. I was so hectic in packing, that it completely slipped my mind to visit him one last time.  I arrived at school and that very night I received a phone call that he passed away..

I was so distraught that I didn’t see him one last time, but remembered that he accepted Christ into his life and was in a better place, with no more pain. And the best part was that I knew that I would see him forever!  I have been at peace since that time, knowing that he accepted Christ into his life, and that I had a little part in helping him get there!

Ever since he got sick, I shared with him one of my favorite verses in the Bible, which was announced as his inspirational quote at his funeral, dedicated to me.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18- 

“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

– Marcus Grimaldi

Spotlight: Legacy Now

Posted by in Resources | August 10, 2012

Legacy Now, Leading Leaders who Lead Students

Taken from Legacy Now’s Website

“When I first started out in student ministry I had a friend named Terry who I worked with. He was doing the same thing I was, but was a bit further down the road in many areas of life I started investing in students and relationships were being built. It was an incredible season- but as you know relationships can be messy. I was interacting with students who did not have much of a religious background and in many cases were very new to the Christian faith.

I can vividly remember those midnight phone calls of a 15 year old with a girl problem. Maybe it was a family problem, a friend problem, or even a God problem. You get the picture. It was happening a lot and many times as a guy in my early twenties, I had no idea how to help them navigate those moments well. In some cases, those were defining moments in their young lives and I was honored that they were reaching out to me for help.

Many times Terry was the guy I called to help me figure out how to help those students. For some crazy reason he always took my calls and found a way to help me have a Biblical perspective (with a little sarcasm and humor thrown in) to help me help my guys. I look back on those moments now and they are priceless. They shaped me as a student pastor and as a follower of Christ. Many years later Terry is still a great friend and the bond we have from serving in the trenches together for a long season won’t be broken anytime soon.

Almost 15 years later the Lord has led my life to a place that I have found myself playing that role for a lot of people. In hindsight, the Lord has really been preparing me for this. I’ve had the chance to do all kinds of things in ministry. From helping start an FCA in high school to working at one of our countries largest churches and student ministries to everything in between. That includes almost 10 years on staff with a para-church ministry giving leadership to a campus and a city ministry. That also includes leading 15 years of small groups of students. Somewhere back in the day I even taught a Sunday school class. Indeed.

All that put together has led me down this road of God putting my heart in a place where I am dreaming about serving the leaders who lead students.

So that is what Legacy Now is. We are a company/ministry whose heart is to help lead the leaders who lead students. We are not trying to sell curriculum or our “method” of doing ministry. What we are selling is relationships. I’ve been blessed to have a long season of investing in; building and creating cultures that are all about relationships. It’s those relationships that paved the road for something special from the Lord.

There are always environments around those relationships. That might be your big Sunday program, it might be your living room… you are creating space somewhere and setting up relationships to happen. I’ve been honored to help create all kinds of environments for relationships and would love to help you do the same.

So that’s what Legacy Now is all about. We are a ministry that is all about relationships and everything that is involved to help make them the best they can be. This generation of students is marked by their high regard for relationships. A degree, a nice suit and a deep voice do not motivate them. That’s not a shot; it’s just true- they are highly motivated by relationships and actions. We want to help you maximize that and fully invest in the students the Lord trusts you with. 

All that being said- I am hoping and praying that God will use Legacy Now to be a Terry for all the student pastors and leaders out there who are leading students. Let’s leave a great legacy for the Kingdom of God and let’s do it now!”

Follow Jason Carr on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jcarrwrites
Like Legacy Now on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LegacyNow

Michael Blish: Always Pray and Never Fear

Posted by in Faith | August 9, 2012

“Be a man!” says the world. This phrase gets tossed around so much. Too much. The reality is that it’s hard to put a finger on exactly what it means, and yet this is the mandate demanded by our friends, teachers, and family. “Be a man!” What does it mean to you? Does it mean facing cold hard reality head on? Does it mean being the biggest guy around? The richest? What qualifies us worthy of being a man? Is there a purpose in the lives of young men these days perhaps much greater than what the world says we are to be?

If you’re reading this post, chances are that God led you here. God is moving you in a certain course through life. He knows where He wants you to go and where you’ll end up. There’s also probably a point in your past when you realized this and gave in to it. When you submitted your life to Christ, and you asked God to come in and work in you. Though we may wrestle with the path sometimes, we want to follow what He’s laid out for us. For me that journey started in 7th grade. Up until that point, church was a place I had to be guilt-tripped into going to where I would sit for an hour or so solving puzzles on the little children’s pamphlet while this old dude talked too slow for my tastes. God seemed cool and all but never did He cross my mind outside of Sunday morning. That all changed when my brother started losing it.

I was hiking through the woods one day when I came across a small box. Inside was a small copy of some book called “Psalms and Proverbs”, a candle, and a box of matches. Being a naive young man, I run back home thinking I had found some sort of treasure. Upon returning I soon found it was my brother’s. I had apparently stumbled upon his secret praying spot. But he was done trying. That box hadn’t been opened in some time.

Many people seem to remember the exact point at which they received Christ. I’m not one of those people, but I do remember my first prayer. “God, if you’re real, please help my brother.” Since then I’ve made many prayers. And many of them have been geared towards my brother. There have been countless times where I all but assumed he was too far gone. But I’ve learned that a huge part of being the man that God wants us to be is having faith. And the first step in being a man of faith is being a man of prayer. Rest in God’s works knowing that He has the greatest plan. We never have to fear. We never have to give up on our brothers. I wanna challenge you guys to live like that. To always pray and never fear.

“The prayer of a righteous man avails much.” – James 5:16.

Love you guys,
Michael Blish

Chris Varalla: Peer Pressure, The Silent Killer

Posted by in Temptation | August 9, 2012

I was once asked, “What’s one piece of advice you wish you could’ve given yourself when you were a freshman in high school?”

Going into high school, all I heard about was how I would be peer pressured to do this and peer pressured to do that. I thought that kids would tell me if I didn’t do something, then I wouldn’t be considered, “cool.” Looking back on high school, I realize that peer pressure was completely different from what I had envisioned, and it took advantage of me when I wasn’t looking.

Peer pressure comes in many different forms. You certainly face the peer pressure of a kid saying you won’t be cool if you do something, but the most dangerous peer pressure I faced was what I call the, “silent peer pressure.” This type of peer pressure can be a killer if you don’t know how to recognize it. In high school, I was rarely openly pressured to do something illegal because my peers knew that I would say no; however, I was silently peer pressured because I hung out with the wrong crowd. I surrounded myself with a worldly crowd and slowly let my barriers slip down to their level without someone ever actually pressuring me. In no time, I found myself drinking and smoking just like my peers because being around it had numbed my mind and compromised my judgement. I thought that it was all okay and it would all work out.

If I could give any freshman a piece of advice, it would be to pick the right crowd and a group of friends that love the Lord and support each other. Keep a close bond with each other and hold each other accountable. Don’t be afraid to tell your friend when he/she screws up because if it goes unacknowledged, it will just become a slippery slope into worse decisions and more difficult situations.

Chris Varalla

Squad Retreat @ the Lake

Posted by in Brotherhood | May 7, 2012

One of the “Squads” of IRON and FIRE got together for a “Squad Retreat” at the lake!

This retreat was a time of fun, brotherhood, prayer, and fellowship. Each guy had the opportunity to enjoy a little break from homework while bonding with the Squad.

The weekend was packed with laughter and guy stuff! There was a huge bonfire, fireworks, steaks, loud music…

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