PK in the News: Mass shooting at California school renews gun discussion

November 19, 2019By PK ManagerCulture, News No Comments
This article appeared in Baptist Press.

As the U.S. deals with its latest mass shooting, with at least two killed and four others injured Thursday (Nov. 14) at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., evangelism and gun control are cited to Baptist Press as possible remedies to stem the tide of violence.

Police and other emergency personnel responded Thursday (Nov. 14) when a 16-year-old student killed two fellow students and shot four others, including himself, at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif.

A 16-year-old Asian male Saugus High School student described as the suspected shooter was being treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound less than three hours after he is believed to have opened fire at the high school of about 2,500 students. One student was treated and released, and two others remain hospitalized.

In the hours following the shooting, many students were sheltered at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita, a non-Southern Baptist congregation that hosted a night of prayer Thursday.

Baptist Press interviewed Southern Baptist evangelist Greg Laurie, whose 29th annual Southern California Harvest Crusade in August marked the longest-running evangelistic outreach in U.S. history. BP talked with Promise Keepers Chairman and CEO Ken Harrison, a former police officer who leads the evangelistic and discipleship outreach to men, and retired pastor Al Meredith, who was senior pastor at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1999 when a gunman killed seven and injured seven others before killing himself.

Laurie, in his 2019 Southern California Harvest Crusade, reported more than 8,000 professions of faith, 65 percent of them from Millennials, he said.

“I believe that the ultimate answer to so many of our problems in the culture today, from acts of violence against others to even acts of violence against yourself,” he told BP, “is the Gospel. But we have to understand what the Gospel is.

“The Gospel obviously means Good News; the bad news is we’re sinners,” Laurie said. “The bad news is we’re separated from God; the bad news is we’re broken. The Good News is Jesus died to forgive us of our sin, and rose from the dead. And if we turn from our sin, put our faith in Him and follow Him, then He’ll change us.

“But that doesn’t mean you’re not capable of doing something horrible,” he said. “So it’s not just believing Jesus; it’s following Jesus. And it’s living by what His Word says.”

God is working among youth, Laurie said, “but we need to redouble our efforts to proclaim the Gospel.”

The motive of the suspect in Thursday’s shooting has not been revealed, but the shooting did occur on his birthday. He was taken into custody while hiding at the school with a .45 caliber semi-automatic weapon, authorities said.

“I’m sorry, it’s just not enough to say you know, ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people,'” Meredith told BP. “Why is our death rate so much higher? Why do we have mass shootings that have become common place, they don’t even register on our emotional radar? And other countries like Scandinavia, and Germany and France and Great Britain, they shake their heads in amazement at why we allow these things to happen.”

Days and weeks before BP’s interviews, two young men had killed 34 people in one weekend in August in the U.S. In El Paso, Texas, a 21-year-old man had killed 22 people and left 26 others injured at a Walmart, and a 24-year old male gunman had killed nine in a nightlife district of Dayton, Ohio. The previous weekend, a 19-year-old male was identified as the shooter after three were shot dead at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, Calif., about 300 miles north of Thursday’s school shooting.

“Hope is two-fold,” Meredith told BP, as tragedies make more common the term “domestic terrorism.” His views are his own, Meredith said, and not those of the church that in September marked the 20th anniversary of the 1999 shooting there.

“One, only God can change dead hearts into living hearts. Only God can transform evil characters into God-honoring people,” Meredith told BP. “In one sense, all these mass killings are an issue of the human heart. And it’s a sign of our failure as evangelicals to win the world to Christ.

“The other level,” Meredith said, “is it seems as though our problems are systemic in our society.”

According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the U.S. registered 3.85 deaths by guns per 100,000 people in 2016, compared to rates ranging from 0.12 per 100,000 in Germany and 0.03 per 100,000 in Singapore. The numbers, released in 2017, do not include deaths from armed conflicts, accidents or self-harm, the institute said.

“And that should tell us,” Meredith told BP, “there’s something wrong with the system (in the U.S.)…. Something must be done to change the system, both in the area of some semblance of restriction on the availability of automatic weapons. And the other issue is mental health, and somehow do a better job of caring for and bringing healing and normalcy to people that are emotionally disturbed.”

At the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2018 annual meeting in Dallas, messengers passed a resolution “On Gun Violence and Mass Shootings” addressing many of these issues. Read it here.

Harrison, whose Promise Keepers ministry focuses on evangelism and discipleship, sees the answer more in evangelism and discipleship than in gun control. “When you look at mass shootings, they’re … mostly young men who, they don’t know that Jesus loves them,” Harrison said. “They don’t know that they can be forgiven for their sin. They don’t know where to turn for answers.

“The number one thing the church needs to do is let these young people know about the grace and love of Jesus Christ,” Harrison said. “But more practically … one of the biggest problems that these young men have, is they don’t have dads in the home. They don’t have positive male influences, and they’re filled with anger. I was able to see the effects of that when I was a policeman in South Central Los Angeles in the Watts-Compton area.” There, he said, where 95 percent of the population was law abiding, the influence of gang violence was prominent and left people in fear.

Problems were exacerbated by fatherlessness and a lack of Gospel evangelism, he said, adding that a father in the home doesn’t necessarily equal a stable environment.

“We as Christians, we have got to be active in sharing our faith,” Harrison said, encouraging Christians to seek opportunities to share the Gospel with people they encounter in daily life. “Just say, if there’s one thing I can pray for you today what would it be? Unbelievable where that goes.” In his experience, people rarely refuse to talk and such conversations most often lead to salvation experiences, he told BP.

The suspect’s father died two years ago, according to ABC7.com.

Praise and Thanksgiving

November 18, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

For many years the Babylonians held the Israelites in bondage. After King Cyrus of the Medo-Persian Empire conquered the Babylonians, God stirred the heart of Cyrus to give the Israelites their Temple back.

In Ezra 3 we read about the rebuilding of the altar so that the exiled Israelites could again freely worship their God. Once the altar and boundary walls were completed, the rebuilding of the Temple itself began. There was much rejoicing and thanksgiving as they saw their land restored.

The people raised their voices to openly acknowledge God’s hand in forgiving them of their sins and bringing them back home. The words to their song and chant are preserved for us in the book of Ezra: “He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” (Ezra 3:11)

God is always at work in our lives — past, present, and future — even when we feel as if we are in “exile” or as if our lives are on hold. Today, many people are fearful, anxious, and yes, even depressed. The plight of our nation, the growing concern about the decline of moral values, and the numerous personal problems surrounding our loved one’s cause many to feel alone and desperate.

Thanksgiving is a great time to remind ourselves that we serve a loving and merciful God who wishes to bless His children with peace, joy, and abundance. He challenges us to trust and obey, even when it seems unnatural to do so.

The writer of Proverbs tells us, “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” Despite our challenges, let’s try to remember, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 NIV)

May you and yours have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving. We encourage you to have each person at your Thanksgiving table say one thing they are thankful for. May you find that His grace is sufficient.

Personal Application

What are you thankful for? Tell someone how God has blessed you today.

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.

The Power of Gratitude to Change Your Life

November 11, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

This is a guest post by Pat Boone. Pat Boone is an American singer and actor who has sold more than 45 million records, had 38 top-40 hits, and appeared in 12 Hollywood films. He is also a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ and the proud father of four daughters. Earlier this year, Pat’s beloved wife, Shirley, went home to be with her Father in heaven. In this post, originally written for the Promise Keepers newsletter, Pat shares how gratitude can change our lives.

Life isn’t easy — no matter who you are.

I’ve been a recording artist for over five decades, and I’ve experienced fame and success. But it hasn’t spared me from heartaches, trials, and grief. For me, one of my greatest sorrows has been losing my wife, Shirley, this year.

Early in my life — when hardships or heartaches came — I learned a secret. Gratitude can lift our thoughts from what’s troubling us, change our perspective, and ultimately change our lives. Being thankful is one of the most powerful forces known to humanity.

Recently I’ve been thinking some new things about gratitude. When I make a list of things I’m thankful for, “breath” is at the top of my list! That sounds pretty elemental, but I find that appreciating something as simple as my breath leads to gratitude in other areas of my life.

For example, when I think of how I received life and breath from my parents, it reminds me to be grateful for my God-fearing, Bible-believing, church-going parents who brought me up to believe the Bible.

For 35 years, I’ve started my day reading the Word of God. I read through it every year, start to finish. And when I read the Bible, I learn that God breathed life into Adam, the first man, and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). I also learn that before Jesus ascended, He breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).

Asking God to Breathe into Me

Now, when I start my devotional every morning, I ask God to lean over me and breathe into me His Holy Spirit as He did with His apostles. Just simple gratitude for my breath leads my thoughts heavenward in a plea for His Spirit to fill me and guide me in everything I do and say.

I know that when the Day of Judgment comes and I stand before God, His first question is going to be: “What did you do with My Son? I gave Him to die for you; did you receive Him?” And then, “How about you as a husband and a father? Did you teach your wife and your kids about Me?”

Those questions are going to be asked of every man. And, brother, we’d better be ready to answer those questions because every breath we take is bringing us closer to that moment.

Put Gratitude and God’s Power to Work in Your Life

So I encourage you: Make a list of everything you’re grateful for right now. Remember to put “breath” on your list. The fact that you are alive means God has a plan and a purpose for you.

Then ask God to breathe His Holy Spirit into you, and you’ll find your life will change! You’ll be a better husband, a better father, a better businessman, a grandfather. You’ll think things and view life from God’s perspective.

One of my favorite verses is Philippians 2:12-13, which says: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

When we breathe in His breath, God causes us to want to do the right things and then gives us the power to do them. But good luck trying to do them in our own strength!

The rest of my breathing days I look forward to sharing this message with other men because it is a great goal of mine that men would continue to grow into the manhood that God wants each one of them to have. God bless you!

At-Risk Boys? We Call Them Future World Changers

November 4, 2019By PK ManagerNews

Help Send 500 Young “Men of Honor” to PK’s 2020 Event

The Men and Ladies of Honor—a Christian ministry based in the Dallas area—teaches chivalry and virtue to at-risk boys and girls on public school campuses in the United States and locations around the world. The majority of students served are fatherless and live below the poverty level.

Through The Men and Ladies of Honor ministry, students are mentored and instructed in core values and leadership, with an emphasis on good character, honor, and integrity. Their mission is to develop passionate followers of Christ, urging students to create a culture of honor, excellence, and exemplary behavior in their schools and communities.

Your Opportunity
We have a vision for 500 of these young “Men of Honor” to attend Promise Keepers’ next national event in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on July 31–August 1, 2020. If you sense God’s leading, you have an opportunity to help provide a scholarship for one or more young men to attend the event. A gift of $100 to our Scholarship Fund can provide a ticket for one person. To help, click here and choose “Fund a Scholarship.”

You Can Do This Now
Interested in having an impact on others? We’ve created another simple way for you to encourage a young man to attend Promise Keepers. Share an audio testimony by calling (877) 880-1181 and leave a message with your story of how God has worked through Promise Keepers to change your life.

We’ll use your stories to encourage and strengthen others. Thank you!

Parachute

October 28, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

The apostle Paul told the new Christians in Thessalonica to be supportive of one another. He especially wanted them to bless and mentor those who were sharing the Gospel in that area. His words still ring true today. We need to be encouraging one another, especially those in the household of faith (other believers). “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Praise God for those who see the need to offer a word of inspiration to others. I love this story and its implications to our faith.

Parachutes

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6
years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.

Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude.

The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!”

Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers.

“I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.” Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory — he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is important. We may fail to say “hello,” “please,” or “thank you,” congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing our parachute. And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours!

Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word. Maybe this could explain it! When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do — you forward jokes. And to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get? A forwarded joke.

So, my friend, next time when you get a joke, don’t think that you’ve been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you’ve been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile, just helping you pack your parachute.

Personal Application

Whose parachute have you packed today?

When you need some encouragement can you share that need with someone close? Can you be open and transparent enough to recognize that it is normal that all of us need a “that-a-boy” every now and then?

Pass this along to someone you care about with a note that you would like to weekly send them our devotional to be supportive of them and their spiritual journey.

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.

Fly Fishing and Faith

October 21, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

Among my many outdoor pursuits is fly fishing. Northern Idaho has a number of Blue Ribbon streams that cover the area like a large spider web. Fly fishing is considered by most anglers as the ultimate experience in luring a fish to take your offering.

In my library are several books that talk about the art of angling. Interestingly enough, angling is not a new endeavor, but is spoken about in several places in the Bible. Remember Jesus asked Peter to cast his line into the water to catch a fish that had a silver coin in its mouth, the annual temple tax – a stater – that would pay the fee for Jesus and Peter (Matt. 17:24-27).

In the second-century AD, a Greek writer Aelian wrote about a way to catch a fish. “Between Boroca and Thessalonica runs a river called the Astraeus, and in it, there are fish with spotted skins (most likely trout).” He suggested to the fishermen of that day a lure “to help snare the fish, by which we get the better of them”. Aelian fastened a piece of crimson red wool around a hook and attach two feathers to it. Apparently, the fish were very attracted to the color and movement believing it was a mouthful. (On the Nature of Animals)

Today, some 2,000 years later, fishermen are still using this lure (fly). It is called the Red Hackle. Isn’t it interesting how often things of the past are still valuable today. In this fast-paced, instant everything, push a button society that many answers we seek to resolve problems and issues of life are things still found in God’s word. The same truths that transformed kings and kingdoms thousands of years ago are still relevant to our lives today.

In Mark 5 we read about how a man, a ruler of the synagogue, pleaded with Christ to heal his daughter who was at the point of death. He asked Jesus to “Come and lay hands on her, that she may be healed and she will live.” Friends of the man came and said she was already dead so he shouldn’t trouble the Teacher any further. Jesus said to the ruler, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

After Christ took the mother and father into the room of the dead child, he said, “Talitha, cumi”, which translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Immediately the girl arose and walked. The same Jesus who healed that girl, restored health to so many others, gave sight to the blind, encouragement to the downtrodden, and conquered death on Calvary’s cross is still with us today.

According to Scripture (Acts 1), the Holy Spirit is present and available to those who believe. Whenever people or circumstances make us feel inadequate, fearful, or anxious, God offers His children the courage, strength, and boldness to walk without fear — to apply the name of Jesus without hesitation or fear. When we approach challenges and fear with faith in Him who is able, as with Peter and John, we may take note that “we have been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

Personal Application:

  1. Take a few minutes to read Mark 5 and see how Jesus heals through the faith we develop in His power to heal.
  2. What are you anxious about today? Remember His word and explore some of these verses: 2 Cor. 1:3-4Ps. 23:4Matt. 5:4

How can we pray for you today? Send your confidential request to me at lgfjim@frontier.com

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.

How Do We Experience True Joy?

October 14, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” 

Matthew 16:24-26 (NLT)

Many people are on a quest to find what the world defines as “success” and “personal happiness.” Our culture projects models of wealthy, famous, well-dressed people and says that if we can just become like them, we’ll be happy. What Hollywood and professional sports often parade as “winners” are really unhappy and unfulfilled people.

Look at the number of despondent people that you encounter every day. Road rage, violence, suicide, drug abuse, and divorce rates among the rich and famous are no different from those of modest means. The incidence of “bad behavior” among the social elite and politicians is an embarrassment to those of us who hold to a biblical worldview of what’s good and decent.

The Bible defines what joy and happiness really look like. It says we find happiness by following Christ into the life He has planned for us. The way to be happy is to live a joy-filled life in Christ. Happiness is merely an emotion that comes and goes with our circumstances. Joy is more intrinsic and prevails in spite of circumstances. Joy exudes from a life surrendered to Christ and led by His Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

The way to be a joy-filled person is found in numerous Bible passages. In the above-mentioned phrase, Jesus gets right to the point by saying to the believer, “If you give up your life for My sake, you will save it.” He wasn’t talking only about physical death, (although in some parts of the world, that is a reality for committed believers). He was saying that you must submit to God your will, your plans, and your future.

The all-knowing, all-powerful God has a plan especially designed for you. When you gratefully walk in the direction He has planned for you, you will find fulfillment and true happiness. That doesn’t mean that you can’t set goals and work towards attaining them. Instead, you make your plans and set your goals always seeking God’s guidance, then walk obediently as each step becomes clear.

Let’s seek a life that models joy by remembering what the Psalmist told us, “Light shines on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right.” Psalm 97:11 (NLT) “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4 (NLT)

Personal Application:

Parable of the Talents

In the Parable of the Talents, Christ describes the joy of a servant when he does what his master has asked him to do. (Matt. 25:21). What is God asking you to do?

When you read God’s Word remember what He told us: “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11

Be of good cheer my friend.

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.

Coping with Struggles

October 7, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

I can’t remember a time when so many friends were under such physical, mental, and/or spiritual attack. Maybe it’s a sign of my age. Maybe it’s the result of the chaos in the sin-filled world we live in. I don’t know. I do know that there are many people suffering and being challenged.

Job had a season in his life when everything went wrong. When Job asked God – Why? God’s “answer” to Job’s question was, “Hush, child. You wouldn’t understand if I told you.”

Scripture gives us some understanding as to why some suffer so much.

“The God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, will perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

“You speak always like someone who has suffered,” says Arctura, one of George MacDonald’s characters in his book Donal Grant. “Who has not that lives at all,” is the response.

Someone once said that, “Indeed, life is suffering: contradiction, misfortune, disappointment, and heartbreak surrounds us.” Why must we enter the Kingdom of God through many tribulations?

I used to believe I knew the answers to those questions, but life – now that I’m much closer to its end than to its beginning – has knocked most of them right out of my head. God chided Job and his friends, as Jesus chided His disciples when they drew unwarranted conclusions from suffering.

In the face of affliction, I’m learning now to be more or less silent. When my friends tell me their lives are difficult, I answer, “Of course I understand and will pray for you.” When they ask me why they’re suffering, I tell them, “I really don’t know, but my God won’t let anything touch His children that first hasn’t touched His hands.”

Why life should be this way, I cannot say, but I do know this: It will not always be this way; there will be an end. Eternal glory lies ahead, as Peter promised, “After we have suffered for a little while.” There, in that “eternal school room,” our Lord will explain “each separate anguish,” but I doubt, then, that we will care. In the awesome flood of His wisdom and love, and in the beauty that will be ours for all eternity, we shall forget “our present, light, momentary afflictions and discouraging trials.”

My friends, it’s a matter of perspective.

I Shall know Why
By Emily Dickinson

I shall know why-when Time is over–
And I have ceased to wonder why–
Christ will explain each separate anguish
In the fair schoolroom of the sky–

He will tell me what “Peter” promised–
And I–for wonder at his woe–
I shall forget the drop of Anguish
That scalds me now–that scalds me now!

Personal Application

If you or someone you love is experiencing pain or struggling remember God’s promises:

He is the God of all comfort. 2 Cor.1:3-4

I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Ps. 23:4

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. Ps. 56:3

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.

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.