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.

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.