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Random thoughts

Posted: 2012 01 23 by hardcoreguest in Biblical manhood, Movie

Today we have a guest post from a friend of mine that served in the 101st alongside me, though we didn’t meet until just last summer. He’s a good man who is growing daily in Christ. We spend time in conversation weekly and grow stronger through this brotherhood. Here’s Kevin—

Hello I am Kevin Bolt. I have been a Christian since I was about 12-13 years old. I was active in church in the children’s group, Royal Ambassadors, and then a youth group. In the Youth group I was allowed to participate in a mission trip to Mexico. I have had a lot of ups and downs in my walk with the Lord. I am currently a student at Criswell College working on getting my BA in Biblical studies and I plan on pursuing it further to get my Master’s with a certification in Christian Counseling, unless the Lord leads me on another path. I also am a part of a Men’s ministry at a local church here in Dallas. I served in the Army for 13 years, as a 63B Light Wheel Vehicle Mechanic and was an E-6 upon leaving. I served in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alaska, Kosovo, South Korea and Iraq, leaving the service in 2006. When I was growing up my dad was serving in the Army for a short time of my childhood, where my family lived in Germany for three years, so I been around the world a time or two.

Prior to getting out and after I left the military there was some things that needed to be addressed. I sought answers and used many different sources. My sources came from the word of God, church and other men. This led me to be the singer of a worship band for about a year then to working with youth and assisting in a youth class at Piney Grove Baptist for about four years. During this time I was also allowed by the Lord to help participate in the preparation and completion of a huge Christian event in our small town where over 100 decisions for the Lord took place. My pastor at the time had me assisting with the youth group and invited me on conferences for ministry and to provide some assistance to our mission church in Mexico. I enjoy hunting, fishing, camping and hiking. I enjoy my time with my family. My relationship with the Lord, God’s call for me, my family’s relationship with Him and my family are what are important to me.

Above photo is part of my family including my daughters, son, niece and dog.

Let me introduce my random thoughts from the Cowboys and Aliens movie quote. 

“Surely you don’t expect the Lord to do everything for you, do you Doc? You got to earn His presence, then you got to recognize it and then you have to act on it.” This is a quote from a movie I recently watched by a character that was depicted as a preacher. It really sticks out to me because the fact of the matter is so many people believe this as truth.  It is not truth because there are some things that are untrue in it. This quote still stuck out to me and made me go yes, you are God and who am I?

First off we cannot earn God’s presence in the sense that we do good works in hopes that we will become good enough for God. The Scriptures tells us otherwise, it tells us our very best is filthy rags (Isa. 64:60), and it tells us all fall short of God’s glory. (Rom. 3:23) However that does not mean we do nothing. The only time we are acceptable to God is through the saving grace by faith found through Christ. This part God does offer to us. So in one way God does approach us for us to recognize Him. The way we are introduced is through grief, conviction, being broken or an endless number of ways possible, after all He is God.  He loved us while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8), This is a demonstration of God’s love toward us and revealing Himself to us and how we are restored to Him, and through Christ have everlasting life with God being saved (John3:16-17).

God offers us a free gift of salvation through His Son’s finished work, which took place for all of us who fall short on the cross, to come in His presence that we do not earn. However we have to recognize God calling us to Himself and it is up to us to act upon His call. The quote above is something to think about if you have the right tools to evaluate it. If one does not know the word of God or has not been taught the word of God it is easy to see how media or other people can give a misrepresentation of God and who He is and how He works. Do not get me wrong even I, as a Christian, cannot and do not know all the ways God works. The Bible teaches us His ways are far above our own. (Isa. 55:8-9)

One last thing I want to point out from this quote.  Some people in this day and age constantly ask, “If God is all powerful how come bad things still happen to people?” I am not answering that question but look at the quote. “You don’t expect the Lord to do everything for you, do you doc?” Why is it when bad things happen we blame God? Why if we are not successful do we blame God? Truth is God does not to everything that takes place in our lives but He is always there to pick us up and dust us off and attempting to get us on track. We still have free will. God did not want people to be like robots to serve Him because they have to, but He does want them to want to serve Him because they love Him and the things He does do for them daily. God will not do everything for you if He did one would never learn, grow, love and develop an appreciation of all that we do have. All too often we focus on what we don’t have and wonder why everything is not handed to us on a silver platter, if that was the case we would never appreciate or love what we do have and get daily.

Serving the Lord as He calls and trying to be a light in this world,Just Kevin.

Today we have a guest post from Grant. Grant and I met shortly after I returned to Dallas as I was searching for manly men to do God’s work with. With his leadership of Breakdown Ministries, Grant shows he is a great example of biblical manhood, but I’ll let him tell you a little more of why I think this. So without any further delay, here he is!

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I was born in Montgomery, Alabama but have lived in Lewisville, Texas since I was in kindergarten. I begrudgingly grew up in church my whole life. My mom was always dragging me there and words cannot express how much I hated it. I knew the ins and outs of church, Christians, God, and to some degree, even the Gospel. However, it never seemed appealing. I knew God needed to be a priority in my life and even had plans for him to be one in the future, but until then I wanted to have fun. I always had a lot of animosity towards Christians and the church which I let repel me from a relationship with God. I was the kid in youth group that stood out like a sore thumb. It was clear that I didn’t want to be there. A big part of my rebellion was against this certain type of Christian boy who would be smiles 24/7, pants pulled up way too high, over the top manners and obedience, and honestly what seemed to be a very fake and lame guy to be. It was routine for my mom to question me on why I couldn’t be like the other boys at church. I would constantly think, “If becoming a Christian means I have to dress like that, act like that, and talk like that, I assure you I will never be a Christian.” The two blockades between me and God were my idea of what becoming a Christian meant and my priorities when it came to a relationship with God. My deal wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God, my deal was that I didn’t want to follow the killjoy God until I needed the ticket into Heaven.

It wasn’t until God stripped me of the gods I was so heavily devoted to that I could even think reasonably. Within a month I had a monumental break up with my girlfriend of two and a half years and been dropped off the JV basketball team. I randomly attended a new church and felt a deep guilt for pushing God off for so long; knowing his importance but waiting until I could use Him for my eternal advantage. The next service I was blown away that I was still loved by God despite my persistent rebellion. On March 8, 2006 “God replaced my heart of stone with a new heart and a new spirit” (Ezekiel 32:26)

Once I sincerely embraced the Gospel I could not stop evangelizing. God ignited a passion within me to tell everyone I knew that being a Christian was far more than what the majority of us have been lead to believe. It has been nearly five years since my conversion and I am now on my third year at The College at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. God has surrounded me with an unbelievable group of guys that are consumed with elevating God’s name. I currently am a member of The Village Church in Flower Mound.

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3 Reasons Why Men Need Missions & Why Missions Need Men
 


1: Men Influence Everything


 It all starts with influence. Men, primarily married men with children,direct the future. They heavily influence the current and upcoming generation.We definitely see this in the church. There seems to be a shift in the presentation and focus of the American church. Over the past couple decades the American church was catered towards women. The average man would endure church only because his wife or girlfriend dragged him there.  Now we are starting to see men that are rough around the edges become pastors. There was some kick back from this but ultimately these pastors focused on men. And the response? Men actually wanting to come to church and know the Lord. Why does this matter? According to statistics, when fathers are the first in the home to become Christians, there is a 93% probability that their families will follow.If the mother becomes a Christian first, this chance plummets to 17%. If a child becomes a Christian first, it falls to 3.5%. (Focus on the Family) I could go on and on about how the church with its music, decorations, dress, and even portrayal of Jesus has been feminine in the past. But the point is this,there must be a balance and maybe even more focus on the men. I believe this statistic backs that up. 
 


2: A Missional Life Leaves a Legacy
 


 Clearly, the man of the household influences his family when it comes to following Christ. But what about the way he lives out his faith? My desire is to see men lead their families in living missionally. Each of us have memories of our father. Whether it be how he use to take us to the park, ride bikes with us, or play football with us. It is even common for many of us to say, “Iremember we were in church every Sunday.” This is where the opportunity lies.Instead of making childrens’ memories of Christianity going to a building every Sunday, what if it were serving people? What if it were loving people? What if it were, “Dad always had our neighbors over; sometimes to have fun, sometimes to let us play with their kids as they ate dinner, sometimes for Bible studies.” Let’s take it a step further. Imagine if the next generation could say, “I remember regularly going downtown to help the needy. I remember going down the street to serve people in our own community. I even remember going to Asia or Africa” Memories like this shape the way children decide to raise their children. What if the next generation naturally served people and when asked, “Why?”their answer was, Why not?” What if our children served because they couldn’tfathom not loving their neighbor? It was all they knew. What kind of legacy are we leaving for our children?
 


3: Christianity Without Missions Is Boring


 All this explains why missions need men. But in the end, men also need missions. When being a Christ follower is no more than showing up to church on Sunday, men get bored with Christianity and eventually walk away towards something more appealing. This bar is far too low and as Matt Chandler often says, “Church is a lame hobby.” Missions offer two facets that men need. They need responsibilities and they need to be challenged.  God is very clear on what we need to do. Make disciples. The great thing about missions is that God leaves where and how up to us. He gives us a heavy responsibility and challenges us to go out to all the nations of the world. You can go down the street, to the next cubical, to another country, or to an unreached tribe. When a man understands that God has entrusted the most beautiful life-changing message in the world with him that is when men step up to the plate. We were designed for this. Just listen to men that have taken up their call for missions. Their words bleed boldness, not boringness.

“Father, make me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a mile post on a single road; make mea fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” Jim Elliot

 

“Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell;I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”

C.T. Studd

Gary T

Long life, short bio.  In fact, just finished the preface for my book, Generational Fathering, last night.  I’m a bit too full of myself right now.  How about this, a retro look:  Married to a true beauty for 47 years. “Retired” or whatever better term applies to guy out of the employment cycle, getting a Navy pension (sounds really old, right?) and YOUR social security contributions.  Thank you.  A grandfather of six by one be-fruitful-and-multiply daughter.  Writing the book with her husband, my best friend.  It’s about our “companion fathering” bringing two generation to bear on the latest gang of kids.  My son died of cancer at 31, so I have a “life is hard” perspective of walking with God.  Before that a rancher doing international business from a lovely log home in the Colorado mountains.  My four businesses were pioneering for what is now common, “Business as Mission.”  Got there by way of helping start and supervise the gunslingers of a new mission, Frontiers, planting churches in Muslim lands.  Somewhere in there I retired from the naval reserves, a captain with 32 years under my brass-buckled belt; I was both warrior and peacemaker because I also served as a pastor…short-term calling; the warrior didn’t work well with whiners.  Ten years with Campus Crusade, helping launch the military ministry.  That was right after landing 301 times to, fortunately, match 301 take offs from the deck of a carrier off Vietnam and one time returning from those skies when the other guy with red stars on his wings did not.  Now I write.  I keep www.GenDads.com  pretty lively with fathering stories, both mine and those of my therapist son-in-law.  If you can’t stow your curiosity, a full profile of the two of us and our book shows up at www.generationalfatheirng.com.

Guest posts are a challenge.  “Max clever” or “deep but witty” are my first impulses. “Spiritual and uplifting” quickly follows. Then I see me grinning at myself reflected in the laptop screen.  The reflection prompted reflection. Such moments always start out, “HMMMmmm.”  Meantime, behind the grin turned somber, I realized those urges were left over from the promotional lusts of my 40’s and 50’s…when I was just a kid.

I can see you smile at that one.  But it’s a real factor in my life these days, the hailing back to memories of an over-vigorous life, I mean.  So happens, I finished the preface for my book, Generational Fathering, last night (no I’m not promoting it, that book, the one they tell us each of us has deep down inside, is a long way off.  Heck, the preface is the easiest project and it took a week.).  I get to tell personal stuff about me and my co-author, my son-in-law and father to the six grandchildren we loaned he and my daughter.  Wistful stuff.  Maybe a little too cute, what with the cowboy references and all.  But re-reading it this morning, I liked it. It reminded me, “clever,” “witty,” “spiritual” were the bylines of a high-energy life turned to saving the world.  Fighter pilot, evangelist, missionary, entrepreneur, global business mogul (a very small scale mogul).  Some people pack a lot into 70 years.

But I shan’t bore you with all that.  We HARD-CORE types have heard that mildly deprecating, highly self-glorifying stuff before.  As a visitor here, I’d like to bundle my years up and tie them with one knot.  The MARGIN knot.

Herein begins pages upon pages of the story.  No, not today, not here?  Right, I’m a guest. Then how about the short form?

Life was frenetic and it suited me.  Not so my wife, but, bless her heart, she stuck it out (I’m brewing coffee and clearing my throat for her birthday song in a few minutes, by the way).  Yes, I could slow down to read. I’m glad because two books changed my life.  Sacred Romance by Curtis and Eldredge set in motion a whole life perspective and deep involvement with the Ransomed Heart gang. Most of you know about Wild at Heart, et. al.  So let me tease you with the other book, Margin.

All of this has been introduction as I near the word limit I set for myself.  You’ll get Dr. Richard Swenson’s theme quickly.  But, honestly, you really do need to get his book (or books; several around this theme).  This guy said exactly what I needed at just the right moment.  It was as if he was God’s mouthpiece.  Here it is—or “was” for me during that hyper-adrenal period:

Gary, you live without margin.  Get some.  Every day is a page in the story you write for yourself even before you wake, and it goes from one edge to the other, from top to bottom.  What if your family had a need?  If you even recognized it, where would you stuff it in today’s Big Page?  And how about God?  You follow Him, right?  How does He get a word in edgewise…when there is no edge, no margin.  Are you going to give Him a slot a couple of pages away?  What if they or He wants to engage you like now?

 

Problem 1:  I was writing my own story, a noble, honorable, godly one. All the while, knowing it was the Lord God I was serving who really had the last word, I was stuffing all the words on my life’s page well before His “last word.”  It came rather suddenly (and, here’s where Eldredge’s insights played a part): I was supposed to be living in His Grand Story, the one the Council of the Godhead dreamed up and wrote for me even before they started the clock of time.

Problem 2:  I had been writing in HIS margins.  His story for me was excellent.  Better than mine.  By far.  And it has wide margins.  Gives a chance to put notes, even love notes, here and there. “NB,” Noto bono in God’s handwriting started showing up.  His notes change everything.

In regular, less poetic terms, my discovery of margin (the book gives frightening data and examples) was something like, “Slow Down.” Only better.  I’d heard that rant almost every day, but zipping about doing good faster than the speed of sound, the words were muffled.

One story closes this teaser.  It happened suddenly on one drive from the ranch to town.  I drove 45.  The speed limit was 55.  I usually drove 65 unless I was in a hurry.  I was always in a hurry.  I actually (this means I am NOT kidding you), saw things on the 15 minute drive (formerly 10 swish-by minutes) I’d never seen…spring flowers, snow still on Pikes Peak, two Elk hanging across the meadow in the tree line.  I remember breathing softly when I told God, “Thank you.”  If not then, then now—or both—I had a tear.  Gratitude and resolved.

One story more, a bonus.  My wife noticed.  I have, since, lived a still full life, but I leave plenty of margin.  When I got to the laid-back but productive leg of the journey (my indolent neighbors call it “retirement”), I said I only wanted two goals to drive me.  (Wow, not 16?!)  I wanted to love God more and better and I wanted to love my wife and family more and better.  Very, very big margin in that story.

You’ve read him before, but here he is again. To round up a week with me traveling, Jim Foreman returns to Hardcore Christian Men. Thanks, Jim, I appreciate the commitment you show to men and to Christ.

My name is Jim Foreman and I am the Pastor of Sedley Baptist Church in Sedley Virginia (Sedley is a rural farm community in Southeastern Virginia).  I have been Pastor here for going on two years in July.  I have been married to Wendy who is an amazing woman for 19 years.  I have a daughter who is turning 16 in June and a son turning 9 in June (yes, June is a big month in our house).  I have been an Associate Pastor and Youth Pastor in a couple of churches, one in Pennsylvania and one Maryland and I worked in the counseling field for over 10 years before full time ministry. I was also a medic in the Virginia Army National Guard.  I have a blog called On the Brink of Something Large.   I love to hunt and fish with my son.  I love to joke and laugh with my daughter.  I love to spend time doing anything with my wife.  To find out more about me you can go here.

Uselessness in the Body

I have tumors – really and honestly – I have a whole host of them throughout my body.

Now these tumors are called lipomas.  You might wonder what a lipoma is so here is what WebMD has to say about them:

What is a lipoma?

A lipoma is a growth of fat cells in a thin, fibrous capsule usually found just below the skin. Lipomas are found most often on the torso, neck, upper thighs, upper arms, and armpits, but they can occur almost anywhere in the body. One or more lipomas may be present at the same time. Lipomas are the most common noncancerous soft tissue growth.

What causes a lipoma?

The cause of lipomas is not completely understood, but the tendency to develop them is inherited. A minor injury may trigger the growth. Being overweight does not cause lipomas.

I have probably 50 to 75 of them currently and I have them all over my arms, legs, neck, and now getting them on my chest.  I have had a number of them removed over the years because they have gotten too big and created problems like the one that was in the middle of my back and would rub every time I sat on a hard chair.

Now you might be wondering why in the world I am telling you about my lipomas.  Well before I answer that I want you to read this scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:12 – 20   12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.   15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

We are all part of the body of Christ but what part of the body are we?  We see here in this Scripture that some of us are hands and some feet and some an ears.  All of us together make up the body of Christ.  So let me ask you this question: what part of the body are you?

As you think about that let me get back to the lipomas.  The lipomas I have are all a part of my body but they are totally useless to me.  The lipomas I have really serve no purpose but yet they are in my body.  Now I think you might be getting the point I am moving toward and that is that too many of us men are a part of the body of Christ but yet we are really serving no purpose in the body of Christ.  We show up to a Church service or we go to some sort of Christian event or fellowship but yet we really are not involved in the body of Christ.  We end up being useless and are just in the body.

Now what we need to see is that there is a real difference between us and lipomas.  The difference is that the lipomas will always be useless but men, you can make the choice to become something useful in the body of Christ right now.  All it takes is making the choice to become something useful for Christ.  Begin to make the connection by getting involved with a group of Hardcore Christian Men, or getting involved in Church, or getting connected with a fellowship of believers.  If you are not a useful part of the body make that choice and do it today.  Believe me when I say that groups, Churches, and fellowships need men to step up and lead.

So are you going to be a lipoma or are you going to be a hand or an ear or a foot?

I met Jim on another blog (I’ve forgotten which one or I would plug it-Jim reminded me it was Tony’s Blog). He’s a great guy who is showing men how to live a biblical life. When I got the chance to have him come visit us, I jumped on it. He’s here talking about spending time with our loved ones, building a little on what Jeremiah posted last week in “Treat Her Right”. Hope you all enjoy his words. Check out his blog and let him know we appreciate him.

~Paul

My name is Jim Foreman and I am the Pastor of Sedley Baptist Church in Sedley Virginia (Sedley is a rural farm community in Southeastern Virginia).  I have been Pastor here for going on two years in July.  I have been married to Wendy who is an amazing woman for 19 years.  I have a daughter who is turning 16 in June and a son turning 9 in June (yes, June is a big month in our house).  I have been an Associate Pastor and Youth Pastor in a couple of churches, one in Pennsylvania and one Maryland and I worked in the counseling field for over 10 years before full time ministry. I was also a medic in the Virginia Army National Guard.  I have a blog called On the Brink of Something Large.   I love to hunt and fish with my son.  I love to joke and laugh with my daughter.  I love to spend time doing anything with my wife.  To find out more about me you can go here.

TV On A Date

This past weekend I took my wife out on a date.  We went out to a movie and then on to dinner.  Now I initially wanted to just hang out this past weekend and watch the Final Four basketball games.  My wife came home on Friday night and said my son would be going to his friend’s house Saturday afternoon to spend the night and we should go out because our daughter was already away for the weekend.  When she said it I could hear the excitement in her voice.  Truth be told, I did not want to do it at all but I knew it was important to her and I also knew that once I decided to do it that it would be a great time.

Saturday afternoon I took my son to his friend’s house, I came back home and got my wife and we went out.  She had asked me when she said about going out to choose a movie and someplace to eat.  I had looked at several movies for us and choose the one I thought we would both would like.  I then choose one of her favorite places to eat.  When we finally got to the mall where the theater is – we live about 45 to 50 minutes from the closest mall/theater – I stopped at Starbucks so she could get her favorite drink.  We were really enjoying out time together and the Final Four games were a distant memory to me.

We saw the movie which we loved and then went to dinner.  We sat and talked and enjoyed our dinner and our time together.  When we were done eating and getting ready to leave, I needed to use the restroom.  That is when I saw it.  To me, I saw something both funny and terribly sad at the same time.

As I was walking to the restroom I came past a guy who was sitting in a booth with his wife.  I looked when I came out of the restroom to see if they were wearing wedding bands to make sure they were married because of what was happening.  The man was sitting in the booth with his wife and he had a portable TV in the booth with them and the rabbit ears from the TV hanging over another couple sitting in another booth.  It looked really funny but it also broke my heart.

The man was out to dinner with his wife and he was watching TV.  He had the TV turn toward himself and she really could not see it.  He was sitting there mesmerized by it and she was just slowly putting the food up to her mouth.  She looked miserable as he looked intensely at the TV.

I am by far not the perfect husband.  My intentions were not to be going out on Saturday Night but I knew several things.  I knew that time with my wife was a whole lot more important than basketball.  I knew that my wife was really looking forward to a movie and dinner with me.  I knew that I would love spending time with my wife and that it is extremely healthy for us to spend time together.  I know how blessed I am to have such an amazing woman that I want to do what I can to make her happy.

My heart breaks for this man who had to bring a TV to dinner with his wife.  To me, it appeared as though he loved basketball more than his wife.  I cannot tell you that I know all the motivations that went behind some guy carrying a portable TV into a restaurant.  I would guess that his wife did not have the best time that night, at least at the restaurant.  I would guess she did not feel too important in his life, at least at that moment.  It is really a sad thing to see.

What is point of all this?  If you are blessed with a great wife, finance, or girlfriend then treat her like the blessing that she is to you.  No matter how long you have been together, treat your wife like a true treasure.  We men need to step up and treat women the way God has intended us to treat them and that is with honor and respect.  Care about your wife, talk to her, spend time with her – make time for her if your life is busy.  There will be a time that it will be just you and her so keep connected to her so that you are not just two people living in the same house when your kids leave the home someday.

Think about this verse:  In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7 NLT)

When you begin to honor her properly, talk with her, and spend time with her, you will see a real changes for the better, no matter how great your relationship.