Saturday, September 17, 2011

Men Advancing Through HIM

As I have ministered to men over the years, I’ve noticed that men truly genuinely want to succeed at work, with their families, in their churches and personal relationships, and yes, even in their personal walks with Christ. However, the struggle today is that we often don’t know how.  I believe today more than any other time in history it is essential that men learn to Advance Through HIM.  When an Army begins to go into battle, there is always a preparation stage. They cannot advance on the battlefield until the logistics are taken care. Sadly, today we have Men attempting to advance in the battle of life without all the prerequisite logistics being taken care of.
It is so important that we take the teaching of Him (Christ) and apply it to our lives so that we can advance in the battle of life and be victorious as Men of God! How do we do that?
First we must learn to spend quality time with HIM - through our devotion, prayer, and ministry time. Too many men struggle to find a quiet place of personal encounter with HIM. We have so many demands of our time, children’s events, PTA meetings, etc. However the saying is true: “A week with Christ makes one weak.” I encourage you to find that quiet place. Even if it is just 15 minutes reading your Bible and praying for your family – it will change your life.
Second. family is a very important key to every man’s success. If you have failed in the house you have failed in life. Men have one primary responsibility as a Father/Dad: to raise your children to love the Lord. I’m so blessed that both my children love the Lord and are active in ministry today. We accomplish this by have three factors in our family. We pray with our children. We attend church as a family.  And third, we serve God together with our kids.
Third, victorious men are committed to a local church. I’m so tired of hearing men say they don’t have time for church. We have time for soccer games, Sunday afternoon football, work, family functions, and dozens of other things. Paul told us clearly to “Forsake not the assembling of ourselves together.”  The church is the refueling station of life for our spiritual walk. Church is the place of fellowship where we learn and are challenged and encouraged. Making time for HIM is not always easy, but our priority for eternity must be to learn to be with HIM.
Fourth, do others in the community know you’re a Christian? If not, you need to re-evaluate things. What is your testimony? Do your words and actions accurately reflect Jesus? What is your purpose in the community? The answer is quite simple. We are to be an example of HIM (Christ) and bring people to HIM.  When people see you do they see HIM or just another neighbor?
Fifth, what do you talk about at the water cooler at work? Do you talk about the latest rumor, the new staff member, the boss, or do you talk about HIM (Christ)?  I’m not talking about cramming religion down someone’s throat, but simply sharing what Christ is doing in your life.
Why do we fail in Advancing Christ? Very simply, we fail to do two areas. We fail to do the necessary preparation. We don’t study the logistic plan book (The BIBLE). Secondly, we don’t execute the battle plan (the Great Commission)! The Great Commission commands us to share the Good News of what Christ did on Calvary with everybody I can. I will miss those opportunities if I am focused too much on other things.
I love to read history, especially biographies, and I have noticed that almost all victories in war were not won by chance, or a twist of fate; they were won by superior logistics. Battles are won with all the right tools, the right people, the right planning, and the correct execution of the plan at the proper time. Those are the ingredients of a winning battle plan. They are also the keys to success in life. The right time to spend time with your family, church, talking to a member in the community, or praying, is not on your death bed … It is NOW!
Let’s ADVANCE for HIM and with HIM … and at the same time bring as many people along as we can!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Reflecting on my memories of 9/11 …

As I sit here reflecting back to ten years ago, it is hard to believe the horror and fear that swept the nation and world that morning. I sat at my desk here in Cincinnati, when my wife called and said someone flew a plane into the World Trade Center in NYC. I was in shock, and even considered that she was joking. However, soon I realized that it was no joke; it was the nightmare that hit to close to home. I remember standing with friends at work watching the second plane hit the tower, the Pentagon getting hit, and hearing of the plane crashing in Pennsylvania.  I remember to this day hearing the words come out of my mouth, “I wish there was something I could do.” God heard those words.
Three months later my family and I are visiting in NYC as a candidate for the position as Director of the Hope Center, a post 9/11 organization being put together by the Assemblies of God churches on Staten Island, to minister to the folks affected by that horrifying day. In May of the 2002 I would move with my family to Staten Island, NYC and for the next ten months would talk with people in person, and on the phone about that day that had become seared into their mind. I spent time at ground zero with a police officer that was only yards away when the first tower came down, watching people being crushed under falling debris and nothing he could do. I talked and prayed on the phone with a fireman that was at home in Long Island with the flu, who had called in sick that morning, realizing as he watched the news his engine company went into the tower and never came out. I spent hours standing at the gate of recovery zone, with a Salvation Army Major that had been one of the first counselors there to help counsel folks that morning.  For nine months I drove by Fresh Kills Garbage dump where the remains of bodies, and debris were separated remembering the smell, and the sights of watching the trucks pull away, stays clear in my mind.  I still talk with many of my friends, that were counselors at Ground Zero, as bodies were found, and responders needed to talk.
It has been ten years; I still hear the stories in my mind and realize that even with not being there in NYC on that day, it has affected my life in an enormous way.  Today I reflect on the memory, realizing that too many individuals were affected by an event that was motivated by hatred of a radical few. But that has affected millions around the world, even today.
As you reflect on today … 9/11 …
·         What is your memory of that day? 
·         As a Man or Women of God what have you learned from the event and the aftermath over the past ten years?
·         Has the nightmare of that day, drawn you and kept you closer to God than you were on September 10, 2001?

Sad day in American history!

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