Promise 6: Becoming a Peacemaker

June 20, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional, PK Men's Study Bible

Promise 6: Unity

A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

 

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. – Matthew 5:21-26

How important is it for you to be at peace with other people? It’s crucial! In fact, Jesus said that if you’re at odds with someone, it’s your responsibility to go to them right away and do all you can to make peace. That means approaching people in your family, at work and at church, regardless of their ethnic, socioeconomic or educational background.

How important is it for you to become a peacemaker? In verses 24 and 25 Jesus urges you to pursue peace before you approach God for worship, whether that’s in a church or in your personal prayer time. Why? Because a broken human relationship is a roadblock that stands between you and a proper relationship with God.

Is there someone you need to talk with today? Do you need to extend a hand of forgiveness? If so, pick up your phone right now and make that call. Reconciliation is one of the key principles of Scripture; a man can’t be in a growing relationship with God unless he is actively forgiving his brothers and sisters (see 1 John 2:9-11).

 

This devotional is reprinted from the Promise Keepers Study Bible.

The Legacy of Fatherhood

June 19, 2020By PK ManagerUncategorized

by Allan Houston, former NBA All-Star, Founder of FISLL and Promise Keepers 2020 featured speaker

The Father and Son are One

When I think of fatherhood, I think of our ultimate father, our Father in heaven. Years ago, I started retreats and camps named ‘Father Knows Best’. My team wanted to draw the parallels between the relationship of the heavenly Father and the biological father, knowing that a lot of men want to strive to be a good father and a good man. But, we are in need of a positive example and a role model. For those who didn’t have a father, we wanted to let them know that they have a heavenly Father, who is always present and cares for them. And for those who did have a good role model, it was our goal to showcase how they could parent even better with their son or daughter in their own fatherhood.

This relationship between a father and son has really been pressing on my heart and mind. So, I searched for John 5, where Jesus healed the man at the pool and was then criticized as ‘radical’. Jesus said, “I do the work that my Father does”. In John chapter 5, verse 19, he further explains and says, “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does”. Jesus was in the Father and they were in a perfect, harmonious relationship, where they shared power and authority. But, Jesus was submissive and didn’t seek his own will. Everything he did from healing to raising the dead, he acknowledged his role as the visible image of the invisible God. I always thought this message was so powerful.

My relationship with my own father has helped remind me of the relationship between Jesus and the heavenly Father. My father was the first black coach in Southeastern Conference history. In 1989, he became the head coach of the University of Tennessee. He had had a great coaching career prior; for 13 years he was an assistant coach at the University of Louisville, he went to four Final Fours, and won two national championships as the lead recruiter, so he was a well-respected man. By the time I had to make a decision about where I would play, I wanted to play for my father. There was no other person that I trusted with my life, my career, and my development, more than my father.

I remember as a young boy, my father would always be writing plays, even if we were out to dinner he would find a napkin to write them on. And once I started to play for him in college, running his plays, it came to me that our relationship was an image of the Father-Son relationship in heaven. Why? Because I was able to predict what plays he was going to use because I had seen those plays written by my father before anyone else could see them. Even before the trainers or coaches or my teammates could see them. My job was to take that knowledge, and power that I had, and execute it on the court.

When I think about the relationship between the heavenly Father and Christ, Christ was given full authority and power, the power to save, to redeem, to restore, and to give us an identity. Because Jesus and the Father were one, there was never a doubt in Jesus’ mind what his role was.

The Role of the Father Today

Today, we regularly talk about statistics that plague society in America and around the globe. For example, how the lack of a two-parent home or the lack of a father figure in a young man’s life is so critical. I think one of the first jobs a father should accomplish is to help a young man understand who he is spiritually, who he is in Christ, what his role is, and what his strengths are. It is important to teach how Jesus was completely submissive and obedient, while he walked with integrity. Additionally, a father is responsible to give his son a measure of integrity and a standard for behavior and thought. Ultimately, the goal of these acts is to create an honoring relationship.

Being a father is a passion of mine; I have two sons and five daughters. The biggest legacy we can give our children is to know Jesus. God will take that foundation and shape their lives around it. And as fathers, it is our responsibility to love them unconditionally, be there for them, and not underestimate the power of our presence and words.

Today, I’m encouraged because I really do believe that God is lifting up not only current fathers but also young men who are soon-to-be to be fathers. I feel like this uplifting is necessary because although there is so much division and inflammation, from political and social unrest, every person can agree that it is important for fathers to be present. We can all agree that, together, we need to make fatherhood matter more. I think if we do this, we can really shake up culture and make a difference.

This article accompanies a video interview with Allan Houston on our Promise Keepers Facebook page. Watch the video
Allan joins other great speakers and pastors like Greg Stier, Pastor Derwin Gray, Choco DeJesus, and more in our digital content delivered through Facebook in the weeks leading up to our first-ever Digital Global Experience. Due to COVID-19, the originally scheduled PK Conference in Arlington, Texas has moved online to a virtual event.
Promise Keepers 2020 Conference is offered via livestream and simulcast to individuals and churches everywhere completely free of charge.

Promise 6: No Barriers

June 10, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional, PK Men's Study Bible

Promise 6: Unity

A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

 

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. – Ephesians 2:14

David knew both teamwork and hostility. In his life he made both friends who would have died for him and enemies who would have loved to kill him. As he considered these two extremes, he wrote in this psalm, ‘Unity is good and pleasant.’

Paul was committed to declaring the message of reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles. He often wrote and spoke about tearing down the barriers that separated Jews and other races. The “wall of hostility” that Paul mentions here is a reference to the ultimate symbol of Jewish/Gentile separation – a barrier that had been erected in the temple courts to separate Jewish and Gentile worshipers.

In his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ destroyed all such walls. But today, as in Paul’s time, Christians have often refused to live in the unity he has won for us. Jesus has freely given us reconciliation between God and our fellow believers, but we fail to appropriate the unity that should emerge from that gift. Tragically, we have chosen to highlight differences between ourselves and others. But Christ’s power still shatters these flimsy constructions, be they physical, psychological, stereotypical or spiritual. Knowing this, our job is to not only point people to Christ, but, like Paul, to remind believers that in Christ there are no barriers.

That message begins with each individual. What can you do today to begin to live in the unity that Jesus Christ has won?

This devotional is reprinted from the Promise Keepers Study Bible.

Promise Keepers and Racial Reconciliation

June 9, 2020By PK ManagerValues

In years past, Promise Keepers has taken a stand for racial reconciliation and called men to unite as brothers. As our country now quakes under the pain of racism—unity, brotherhood, and commitment to changemaking are needed more than over.

Pastor Donald Burgs, Jr., member of the board of Promise Keepers said: “In these troubling times, we the Body of Christ must continue to walk with one another, allowing nothing to divert us from our call to Christ nor to break the holy chains of fellowship and unity with each other” (Micah 6:8).

Ken Harrison, CEO of Promise Keepers, said: “Promise #6 of a Promise Keeper is a solemn commitment to reach beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity. We need to demonstrate that power more than ever. Racism is a festering wound that has scarred the otherwise proud history of America. Christians must continue to lead the way in racial reconciliation and healing as we live out God’s call to treat all people as more important than ourselves (Phil 2:3). I call on Promise Keepers everywhere to demand respect, justice, equal protection and equal opportunity under the law for everyone—and that includes police officers as well.”

The following are helpful voices from within the Promise Keepers community speaking on the topic of racial reconciliation. We hope you will listen and be encouraged.

 

 

 

We appreciated the words of Tony Dungy, which we shared this week:

America is in a very sad place today. We have seen a man die senselessly, at the hands of the very people who are supposed to be protecting our citizens. We have seen people protest this death by destroying property and dreams of people in their own community, the very people they are protesting for. We have many people pointing fingers of blame, painting the opposite side with a broad brush. We have anger and bitterness winning out over logic and reason. We have distrust and prejudice winning out over love and respect.

 

…Today we are a divided country. We’re divided racially, politically, and socio-economically. And Satan is laughing at us because that is exactly what he wants. Dysfunction, mistrust, and hatred help this kingdom flourish.


Well, what is the answer then? I believe it has to start with those of us who claim to be Christians. We have to come to the forefront and demonstrate the qualities of the One we claim to follow, Jesus Christ. We can’t be silent. 

Read the rest of his comments here.

 

How a Man of God Can Change Everything

June 5, 2020By PK ManagerWomen

By Tracey Arnold

To share my thoughts on this topic, I must first share reflections of my childhood and my adolescent years. As a child I was sexually molested by a day- care attendant and also by one of my uncles. And the only times I saw my dad were when it was time to eat, when he was going to or from work, and at times on the weekend.

Starting at age 5, I had a health condition that caused me to lose my hair. During my teenage years I battled severe depression, and by the age of 23, I attempted suicide. Through all of that, my mother was the one to hold me and tell me everything was going to be okay.

Three days before my mother died of cancer, I received Christ into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior. I didn’t know much about Christ at that time. But one day I heard the Lord say to me, “Tracey, I’m going to bring you a man that you have never known. He will be completely different than any man you have ever met. If you just trust Me, Tracey, walk with and follow Me, I’m going to bring a man into your life who will love you as I love you.”

I didn’t know what that meant until I met my husband, Quint. I’m not going to sit here and say that my marriage has been roses, strawberries, and cream. What I will say is that the man the Lord gave me is in pursuit of a life with and for Christ. He is the very thing that God used to heal me and grow me into the woman I never thought I could or would be.

This man of God taught me about his love for and walk with Christ and helped to ignite within me a passion to know Him for myself. He is one who supports me and loves me unconditionally. A man of God who not only prays with me, but who will pray over and for me. A man who honors me with his words — who never raises his voice, his hands, or strikes me down with hurtful words. A man who is gentle with me, but who is strong for me. A man who is not threatened by my success but instead gleans from it and stands next to me to help me accomplish it. A man who loves me as a sister in Christ.

The value of this man of God has helped me see myself in the light that God sees me and experience a life I never knew I could have — a life that is a gift and a blessing.

This article appeared in Promise Keepers’ print newsletter. To sign up for Promise Keepers news in your inbox, just fill out this quick form.

Fathers

June 4, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

A good father is one of the most unsung, upraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. — Dr. Billy Graham

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Roses are the Father’s Day flowers: red to be worn for a living father and white if the father has died … but it wasn’t always so. The idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington, right next to the little town where we currently live.

Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Having been raised by her father, Henry Jackson Smart, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in her eyes, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora’s father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration on June 19th, 1910, in Spokane.

My father went to be with the Lord many years ago. He was a gentle and quiet man who really didn’t have much time to spend with me while I was young, but I loved him so much. His legacy to me was his kind heart and great integrity. He taught me to be responsible, that grace was important, but that my poor judgement or bad behavior had consequences. I didn’t get an allowance or trophy unless I earned it. I am so very grateful for him, and I really miss him.

It is human nature to assume and expect that those things we cherish most will always be with us. Many folks are so caught up in their careers that they don’t take time to really show their appreciation to others, especially their parents. I’m thankful that the Lord gave me almost four months during my dad’s battle with cancer to “get it right”. Dad enjoyed going for rides, watching the A’s games, and popping down to the donut shop to get a cup of coffee and a donut with his friends.

None of these things were favorites with me; however, I knew dad enjoyed them, so they became important to me. My greatest regrets in life revolve around my dad. I wish I’d have taken more time to really know him.

Obviously, we don’t have to wait for a national holiday to honor our dads or spend time with them. If your father is still alive, consider calling him today to let him know how much you appreciate him. Send him a note or take him to coffee if you live close. If your relationship is strained, too painful, or simply estranged, ask God if you might have any part in reconciliation. If your father has passed away or you never knew him, consider showing your appreciation for other folks in your life who have mentored you, been models of faith, and offered you encouragement. In America, we spell love: T-I-M-E. Let’s not be too busy to show our appreciation.

Personal Application

Let’s remember to “Honor your father…” Matt. 15:4a, and “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Col. 3:15 Ask God how you might show your appreciation to your father or those in your life who have truly made a difference. If you have a painful past with your father, ask God to bring healing. Remember, He is the Father to the fatherless. Ps. 68:5

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.

A Tale of Two Sons

June 3, 2020By PK ManagerValues

The following is an episode of Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers. This originally appeared as a post on FamilyTalk.

In this episode of FamilyTalk, Dr. James Dobson talks about the passing of his close friend and cousin, Reverend H.B. London. He honors Rev. London through one of their most meaningful conversations about each of their fathers. They discussed the need for dads to prioritize their children, and regularly communicate love to them. Dr. Dobson and Rev. London also talked about the role of forgiveness and reconciliation in broken relationships.

Promise 6: David’s View on Unity

June 1, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional, PK Men's Study Bible

Promise 6: Unity

A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

 

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. – Psalm 133:1-3

David knew both teamwork and hostility. In his life he made both friends who would have died for him and enemies who would have loved to kill him. As he considered these two extremes, he wrote in this psalm, ‘Unity is good and pleasant.’

The imagery of this poem made a powerful statement to David’s countrymen. Only under David and Solomon did the twelve tribes of Israel dwell in unity. For the rest of their history they bickered and fought as two separate nations. There’s a lesson in the fact that Israel reached her political and religious pinnacle when David and Solomon were her kings. United, the twelve tribes did what they could never have done divided. During those glory years they set the standard for worship and left a legacy that has inspired Jewish people throughout history.

God’s Word states here and in many other places: “It is good and it is pleasant when God’s people dwell together in unity.” Anyone who isolates himself from other believers, regardless of the reason, is disobedient to God’s Word and is crippling his Christian witness. David and other biblical writers teach that reconciliation is not just a good idea, it is God’s will and command.

Join those who work for unity among God’s people. Make on phone call or initiate a conversation today that will build a bridge to someone you might not normally contact. Find out for yourself how ‘good and pleasant’ it is when God’s people dwell together in unity.

This devotional is reprinted from the Promise Keepers Study Bible.

Taking a Risk to Love Others — and Save Lives

May 31, 2020By PK ManagerValues

Scott felt God putting two words upon his heart: engage abortion.

“I was sitting in a Starbucks and I was just dealing with the frustration of everything that we see in our culture, the darkness that’s there,” says Scott Hord, senior pastor at Christ Life Community Church in Smyrna, Tennessee. “I began to pray to the Lord, and I gave him my anger that day. I said, ‘Lord, I’ll give you my anger, I’ll give you my frustration … would you give me something in return?’ He put two words upon my heart: engage abortion.”

Scott didn’t know the specifics of how or where abortion was happening in his community. So, he Googled the topic and identified two nearby locations. Then he drove to the first facility, parked his car, and began to pray.

Obedience Brought Transformation

That act of obedience, of listening to God’s calling and then responding, was the beginning of a journey that led Scott to founding a vital ministry called Operation Saving Life. And since that day, his team has been on the front lines of abortion “clinics,” ministering to women and families — and saving babies.

“It can be very dangerous,” Scott says. “We’ve had guns pulled on us. We’ve had people try to run over us, spit on us, tase us, mace us, you name it. But we still go and we go with love. We realize that there’s a lot of shame associated with abortion. We don’t go there to condemn, but we go there in love and in truth hoping that women will respond.”

They are. As of this writing, 180 babies have been rescued through this amazing outreach. But it doesn’t end there. Scott and his team have taken on a comprehensive approach that ministers not only to the needs of the mother and baby, but also to the entire family. “Our commitment to them is to meet all of their needs, their immediate needs and even beyond,” he says.

May Scott’s story inspire you to consider how God can work through you to change the world in this time of crisis.

Promise 5: Proper Perspective

May 23, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional, PK Men's Study Bible

Promise 5: Changemaking

A Promise Keeper understands that Jesus calls him to be His hands and feet, serving others with integrity. He purposely lifts up the leadership of the church and his nation in prayer.

 

So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. – Genesis 45:8

What a perspective! Joseph defined his whole life by the fact that God had placed him in his situation for ministry. Even though Joseph had experienced many tough times and had been in situations that would have made any man bitter, he chose to see these things as God’s sovereign hand at work. Joseph believed that through these events God was placing him where he could best be used as God’s instrument.

Think about the many roles that you fill in life—husband, father, employee, brother, son. God has placed you there to minister. Your church is his place of training; through its ministry and outreach, you can be a modern-day Joseph.

This devotional is reprinted from the Promise Keepers Study Bible.