Our Stuff

September 30, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:37-39

There is something about men and their stuff.  It might be a classic car, a beautiful home, a special set of tools, a fast boat, fishing and hunting gear, or some other type of precious possession.  Whatever it is, we don’t typically part with our stuff too easily.  Most garage sales I’ve been to have household items and some women’s clothing.  The guy’s stuff is usually carefully stored on shelves out of sight from the potential buyers.

It’s interesting to realize, we really don’t possess what we have in this life: our homes, our jobs, our toys, our automobiles, or even our family.  They are simply entrusted to us for a period of time by a loving God.  After all, He is the author of live, death, prosperity, success, and promise.  It is all His.  He gives us the capability and relationships to acquire things, but ultimately, He owns it all.

There are times we have a tight grip on our things.  For some their stuff is so precious they won’t trust even their closest friends with it.  When we recall the story of Abraham and Isaac we stand amazed at the fact that Abraham would seriously consider taking the life of his only son, for whom he waited 100 years.  To surrender this child was the test given by God. Now, none of us would consider our children, our spouse, or other family and friends as “stuff.”  So, at the risk of being redundant, the point is that EVERYTHING we have comes from God.  So, colloquially speaking, it was as if God said, “Trust me with your stuff” (i.e., everything in your life). Why would God ask Abraham for such an overwhelming act of obedience?

God knew that Isaac was never in danger, but Abraham’s faith and obedience was on trial.  Abraham could have disobeyed God and held on to his son. After all Isaac was his prized possession.  God tested Abraham’s heart to identify his true priorities and willingness to realize that everything he owns, including his precious son, was God’s.  Abraham passed the test of trusting his son to God when he was willing to place God’s will and plan for his life above his own desires.  How would you do with such a trial?

The test proved that Abraham didn’t really own his son – God did.  It was God who provided the ram to be sacrificed instead of Isaac.  God was simply asking Abraham, “do you really trust me?” God was saying, in effect, “do you trust your own understanding more than mine?” And the amazing thing is that Abraham trusted God so much that he said to his servants in Genesis 22:5, “And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass, and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.”  Did you catch that?  “I AND the lad will go yonder and worship, and COME AGAIN TO YOU.  Abraham had such faith in God that he knew the boy would not die—or if Isaac did die, God would resurrect him from the dead. Friends, that is faith.

If we follow Abraham’s example and hold on to everything loosely, then we can see God’s plan regarding how our stuff is to be used for His purpose. The Apostle John said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 14:1

And so, my friends, whom do you trust with your stuff?

Personal Application:

What seems simple isn’t necessarily easy.  In what ways is God asking you to consider relaxing your grip on something you think belongs to you?

How can you utilize and share the very possessions God gave you to assist others?

Are you holding your stuff too tightly?

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

11 Things to Teach Your Son Before He Heads Off to College

September 24, 2019By PK ManagerBoard, Values

By Todd Wagner

Much to my surprise, I have found dropping off (“turning loose” may be a better term) a young man on a university campus to be a much more sobering experience then dropping off a young woman.

The first two times I loaded the Suburban and headed to college towns it was to drop off my oldest daughters, which, as you can imagine, has its own set of concerns. When I dropped off Ally and Kirby, they were ready to meet, enjoy, and integrate into their college campuses with their eyes wide open and their hearts cemented to the idea that whatever college was about, it was more than just themselves.

My girls and I had long ago shared all the necessary conversations about the duties and dangers of being a young woman in a university setting. Though it is never easy to leave any child you have invested in and enjoyed daily for eighteen years in a strange land to care for themselves, I knew it was time and we were all sad, excited, and ready.

Fast-forward a few years and all of a sudden my wife and I were about to make our way to Fayetteville, Arkansas, home of the Razorbacks (the boy had said “no” to the Ivy League option) to drop off our firstborn son. As the day neared, and much to my surprise, I had a growing and much different sense of responsibility in sending off a young man to college then I did a young woman. I knew college meant my son, like my daughters before him, would have a new and greater freedom to live and lead his life as he wanted, AND I knew that there were dads, just like me years earlier, who were dropping off their freshman daughters where they would either be blessed or burdened by the young men around them.

One might think that dropping off a girl and leaving her alone around a bunch of newly unleashed young “men” with unlimited freedom and limited maturity was the more daunting task, but such was not the case for me. Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that I found it more sobering to turn loose a potential predator then I did potential prey.

What you have below is a summary of the last hours of conversation this father had with his son as he dropped him off to prayerfully be faithful in “Fayetteville and forever.” I pray daily that these truths would be embedded in his heart for more than just the four years of college, and you can be certain that I am praying now that they will be in some way useful to you as you seek to be faithful yourself and with any men you are charged with shaping. Fayetteville is not the only place that needs faithful men…right where you are does too.

So to my son Cooper (and later Cade and Camp) and to you today, I say…

It’s all about Jesus.

  • College is not a time to taste the world. It’s a time to increase your appetite for God’s Word.
  • First, believe that college is not a time to sow your wild oats. It is a time to show your world Whose you are.
  • John 1:1-4Colossians 1:15-171 Corinthians 6:19-20

Jesus is all about bringing you to the Father, and the Father is all about restoring His glory in you.

If you know the Father and the Son and yield to the Holy Spirit, you will love and serve others. 

You can’t love and serve others if you don’t lead and feed yourself. 

How you start each day, each week, and each semester determines more than you can imagine. 

Who you choose to run with and live life with is how you will choose to run and live. 

Who you are when you’re alone is alone who you are. 

Women are not play toys. They are God’s daughters. Honor them. Protect them. Serve them.

  • Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
  • Wait to taste the lips of a woman. Don’t waste yourself on lust.
  • Consult your dad on all dates and consider every time you are alone with a woman a date.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Proverbs 31:30Proverbs 22:31 Timothy 5:2

Do not choose your friends or your future career by how much fame or finances they offer.

Be wise. Be humble. Be fun. Beware of the lie that those three are mutually exclusive.

  • You have a powerful enemy who wants you to be foolish, be prideful, and believe that faithfulness to the Father is a fast track to futility. He is a liar.
  • John 8:44Proverbs 13:13-15Psalm 16:11

Be ready. Be bold. Be kind. Be faithful.

If you’re dropping off your own son at college (or know that you will be in a few short years), now is the time to teach him these things. And if you are the newly-minted freshman yourself, commit to building your adult life on these life-giving truths. 

Todd Wagner is Senior Pastor and Elder at Watermark Community Church, and the author of Come and See: Everything You Ever Wanted in the One Place You Would Never Look. This article originally appeared on his blog here.

A Promise Keeper Allows God to Use Him

September 20, 2019By PK ManagerMy PK Story

Ten-year-old Steven is one of those kids the experts describe as “at risk”. His single mom struggles to make ends meet. Though he regularly sees his father, a convicted felon no longer in prison, that relationship has its limitations. “Basically what I’ve learned from my dad is how to blow bubbles with gum and eat Oreo cookies, ” says Steven.

During the summer of 1993, Steven and his mother, Barbara, first heard about Promise Keepers while listening to a Focus on the Family broadcast. “I’d like to go to that conference in Boulder,” Steven (only nine at the time) told his mom. She let the comment slide, figuring it was an impulsive reaction of a young boy who wanted to visit the campus of his beloved team the Colorado University Buffaloes.

The conference came and went.

Steven’s mom expected his interest to wane, but he kept talking about in the months that followed.

This led to Steven writing a letter to Coach Bill McCartney, coach of his favorite college football team and founder of Promise Keepers, explaining his desire to attend a conference. Coach McCartney invited him to come to next year’s event with his father and sent him a copy of his book From Ashes to Glory.

But Steven and his mother doubted his father would come along.

For two years, Barbara had gotten to know Tammy and Gene Gregory who brought their children to her licensed daycare. Of the families she served who would call them Christian, the Gregorys seemed to be living out their faith best. After a series of events, Barbara asked Gene about escorting Steven to the Promise Keepers conference. He saw Barbara’s request as both an honor and an important responsibility. “But I had no idea who much that decision would mean to me and my family as well,” he says.

Gene and Steven drove back and forth from Denver to Boulder for both days of the conference. “What an incredible experience Promise Keepers was! To be there in a massive stadium packed with that many Christian men was in itself inspiring. Maybe because I was trying to see through Steven’s eyes, I think I was as excited an awestruck as he was. He obviously was blown away by the crowd dynamics – the singing and the spirit of worship. So was I.”

When a man left his hat and wallet unattended for ten minutes and they were left untouched until he came back, “I know this seems like a small thing but the little things like that added up to make for one impressive testimony about integrity.”

Steven got a big kick out of Chuck Swindoll riding out on a big Harley-Davidson and then seeing Gary Smalley arrive on stage straddling a little tricycle.

“I particularly remember the challenge put to us as fathers: That our kids are the only things of importance we’re going to leave behind on this earth when we die,” he says.

“None of the things we accumulate or recognition we receive is going to matter. So we need to fulfill our responsibility to give our children the time and energy and affirmation that will assure them they’re special. And we need to teach them about God and what is really means to have a relationship with Christ, as well as to show them how to find guidance and comfort in His Word.”

Gene says attending Promise Keepers with Steven moved their relationship to a new level as well. “Steven know that I wasn’t there just because I was taking him. He could see that the experience meant something significant in my life and I saw that it was making a real impact on him.”

It was late before Steven and Gene got back each evening. “But the two of them were higher than a kite both nights,” Barbara remembers. “They were so up from the conference, it was fun to listen to everything they wanted to tell me. Gene said that having Steven there really added to the conference for him – especially the session where Howard Hendricks talked about the impact mentors can have.”

Being with Steven has made Gene aware of how much a boy needs at least one good example. “And it needs to be a man. Steven’s mom does a great job. But Steven’s stuck being a male, and he’s going to learn how to be a man not from his mother, but mostly from the other men in his life.”

The mentor doesn’t have to be perfect but he does need to be someone who is honest about life’s hard times and whom in the midget of them, doesn’t give up his believes but is true to his relationships with his family and his God.

Millions of men have experienced transformation at Promise Keepers events. Promise Keepers 2020 is back to ignite an intergenerational audience with truth for their lives, while standing on its seven timeless founding promises that created the legacy.

What’s better than an NFL stadium full of passionate football fans? That same stadium full of men who are passionate about following Christ, parenting their children and loving their wives! You won’t want to miss it!

Join us next July 31 in the Dallas area for Promise Keepers 2020 Conference. Bring a young man – like Steven – who desperately needs a Godly man in his life. Or, bring a group of guys, the men in your family or your men’s group.

Learn more about Promise Keepers 2020 Conference in Dallas

Purchase your tickets today

This story was excerpted from The Power of a Promise Kept.
Copyright Promise Keepers and Focus on the Family.

Upcoming Event: National Training on Ministry to Men

September 19, 2019By PK ManagerUncategorized

Are you a pastor or lay leader involved in ministry to men? You’re invited to an exciting training to equip and empower your ministry. Join hundreds of Men’s Ministry Leaders from local churches across Texas and the nation at THE 2019 NATIONAL TRAINING ON MINISTRY TO MEN. This unique event is a joint collaboration brought to you by The National Coalition of Ministries to Men and Promise Keepers.

The event will be held at Gateway Church, Dallas Campus, on October 22-23, 2019. In addition to compelling Keynote Speakers, you will also have 24 different workshops to choose from featuring the most important topics for pastors and lay leaders who are investing into men.

More details and registration instructions can be found at http://ncmm.org/nationaltraining/

Contact NCMM at 717.682.4517 or [email protected] with any questions.

Calling Out Our Men

September 16, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

“But also look ahead: I’m sending Elijah the prophet to clear the way for the Big Day of God—the decisive Judgment Day! He will convince parents to look after their children and children to look up to their parents. If they refuse, I’ll come and put the land under a curse.” – Malachi 4:5-6  (The Message)

Why is Men’s Ministry Catalyst so passionate about helping churches create vibrant ministries to men? What are the trends among men that create the need to rally men of faith to stand-up and be counted?

The words of the apostle Paul ring loudly every day of my ministry life: Be on alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Cor. 16:13). Recent studies testify that too many men are disengaged with the church and their faith.

Today, we praise God for the opportunity to be one of the most experienced men’s organizations in this country that is dedicated to “calling men out”. Statistics tell us that ministries like MMC are needed more than ever. Over 61% of the people filling church pews on Sunday are women. Over 60% of the children in America will go to bed this evening without a biological father in the home. It is over 80% in the inner-city areas.

Too many men believe the Christian Church is not relevant. Research also shows that men are struggling in many areas of their personal lives with depression, despair, loneliness, pornography, deception, debt, and feel spiritually empty. Our culture and lifestyle continue to ask for more from men without regard to a man’s dedication to their faith or family. Many of us have problems saying “enough is enough”.

As in the days of Malachi and David, we need to “call out” men. There needs to be a wake-up call to the male gender. Upon King David’s death bed, he gave Solomon his son a message that we need to hear today. And let’s hope that God fearing men will not forget the instruction like Solomon did.

When David was about to die, he called his son Solomon and gave him his last instructions: “My time to die has come. Be confident and determined, and do what the Lord your God orders you to do. Obey all his laws and commands, as written in the Law of Moses, so that wherever you go you may prosper in everything you do. If you obey Him, the Lord will keep the promise He made when He told me that my descendants would rule Israel as long as they were careful to obey his commands faithfully with all their heart and soul.” 1 Kings 2:1-4 – The Good News Translation

God wants Christ-loving men to embrace our families, our nation, and our world. Let’s amplify the words of the song written decades ago as a rally call to men: “Rise Up O Men of God.” Men’s Ministry Catalyst continues to passionately work with churches, men’s groups, families, and retreat centers to help men better understand what biblical manhood looks like. We desire to help build intentional leaders who really know God and make Him known. Our resources and books are designed to equip men with a spiritual suit of armor to face the arrows from those who seek to kill, steal, and destroy.

Thank you for supporting and praying for our work. We feel His presence and your encouragement.

Personal Application:

Are you or someone you know struggling with some of the issues identified in the message?

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. Gal. 2:20-21

How could you better inspire and equip those men in your life who are struggling with faith issues and spiritual warfare? (Luke 2:46Acts 5:34)

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

Costly Distractions

September 9, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

For most of us, life is full of too many distractions. Our hurry-sickness and fast-pace culture too often cloud our thinking and distract us from the important stuff. Our time with God through devotions and Bible study often are placed on the back burner as we answer a phone call, respond to a text, or an issue pops up requiring our attention.

Over the years and in a variety of situations, I’ve felt that I’m a pretty good multitasker. I believed that I could usually handle several issues or thoughts at the same time, but a recent experience shocked me to my very core.

On a beautiful spring day, I had driven about an hour from our home to meet with a colleague regarding a ministry opportunity. In packing my truck to return home I was interrupted by my friend to check out one last thing. I had my Bible in hand at the time and rather than take the time to unlock my vehicle and place the Bible inside I put it on the back portion of the cover to the bed of the truck. That way I would see it upon my return to my vehicle. The bed cover is a slick hard plastic piece with no raised edges or guides.

That forty-year-old, leather-bound Bible has all our personal notations and comments in the margins on every page of this treasured masterpiece. Needless to say, it is priceless to my wife and me.

After the fifteen-minute distraction with my friend, I piled into my pickup while I was thinking about several issues we had discussed. The ride home was enjoyable once I got off the curvy road leading to the highway. After driving about 50 minutes I glanced at the passenger side of the cab to check that my Bible was riding securely where in normally sits.

To my shock it wasn’t there. I quickly looked to the back-passenger side seat to see if I had placed it there. No, it wasn’t there. How could I have been so distracted that one of the most important possessions I own would have been lost in such a careless manner? I immediately pulled off the highway and made a turn onto a side road. I opened the rear door to check the space behind the driver’s seat to see if I had placed it on that seat. It wasn’t there either. I sadly looked at the spot on the rear cover where I remember leaving it and reflected upon my mistake. Then as my head turned to get back into the truck so I could retrace my route, I noticed tucked against the rear window was my Bible.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I kept saying out loud, repeatedly, “Lord, how is that possible?” I got into my truck and began to weep as I considered God’s grace, mercy, and omnipresence. Wow, He is with us even when we mess up. Praise God!

I’m reminded how the Psalmist must have felt when he scribed the words, ”Give ear to my prayer, O God. And do not hide Yourself from my supplication. Give heed to me and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and am surely distracted.” (Psalm 55:1–2 NASB)

This experience was a wake-up call for me. I’ve noticed that all of us can allow ourselves to so focus on things like the crazy news on our radios or televisions; the hurried pace of our culture; the endless list of “to-dos;” the financial burdens associated with never ending lists of demands; a health crisis that threatens our peace and joy; and the constant attacks upon our faith and liberties that we can forget about the most obvious and important things in life.

Life is full of distractions, some of them costly. Those distractions could take us to the end of life without fulfilling our dreams and, most importantly, our calling. In Mark 13, Jesus warns us against some major distractions that we must be mindful of, particularly between now and His return.

In this chapter, Jesus is sitting on the steps of the temple as He discusses questions the disciples have about the temple and end times. Jesus helps His disciples focus upon three things in the practice of being mindful and intentional in what they think and do.

1 – Be Mindful of Ignorance

He says, “Beware that no one leads you astray.” (v. 5).

The word “beware” is translated from Greek meaning “to see” not only with eyes, but also with mind’s eyes. It means “to perceive” or “to be mindful.” He says, “Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray.” There will be false teachers out there that prey on the gullible. You must be mindful, or you will be led astray, just like a sheep being led astray by a thief.

How do you become mindful of false teaching? The solution is to get intimate with God’s Word — the truth. In verse 23, he says, “But be alert; I have already told you everything.”

We aren’t to allow ourselves to become so distracted that we forget about our responsibilities as His witnesses. We are His sheep and need to hear His voice.

2 – Be Mindful of Noise or Clutter in our Lives

Not only ignorance can distract us, but also mischance can distract us. Jesus said:

When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.

— Mark 13:7–8

Sometimes the noise and clutter in our lives can distract us from living a life God meant for us to live. He said, “do not be alarmed.” That means we cannot avoid misadventure, distractions, or a gaze that takes our focus off His will for our lives. The word “alarmed” is translated meaning “to be troubled in mind.” When your mind becomes troubled, you lose your mindfulness.

How do you overcome the distraction of confusion and clutter? He says, “This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.” Mothers understand this best. We all know the pain of giving birth, but on the other side of pain is a beautiful new life being brought to our presence. So, don’t let your mind be troubled by the mischance. Realize it is just the birth pangs. God is giving birth to a new world. Keep your faith alive so that you won’t get distracted or distressed by all the noise and confusion found in our daily living.

3 – Be Mindful of Inactivity

In addition to ignorance and mindless clutter, we can also become distracted by inactivity. Jesus said, in Mark 13:32–37 (NRSV):

But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake — for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.

In this passage, He emphasizes the mindfulness with watchfulness. He says, “be mindful and be awake.” Don’t be asleep or inactive! Activate your mind and heart to take a stand for Jesus. Become active in your church, community, and with your neighborhood.

God enabled me to reclaim His word and the many promises we have recorded in our Bible. My Bible is back in its rightful place at my bedside. Thank you, Jesus!

Personal Application

Lately, what distractions have pulled you away from God’s Word?

How can you be more intentional about protecting and receiving God’s Word?

Are you mindful of the distractions in your life?

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.