h1

Man Alone- The Need for Accountability Groups

January 17, 2012

Have you ever felt this way?  As a man, it seems we have become geared to be severed from others.  Even if we are involved in sports, business groups, etc, we still seem to feel alone in the world.  We are graded constantly by everyone on our job performance, performance as a father and husband, our income, ability to provide, likability, you name it.  It never ends does it?  There is an epidemic across the world of men, Christian men, feeling isolated, unable to connect with anyone and simply accepting it.  This is not how God made us to be.

Thinking back to our image of the Christian Warrior, 300 style, there is a difference in the mentality of men.  Those in the 300 were close on many levels.  Why was that?  Their life depended on it.

In previous posts like “The Traits of the Christian Warrior“, “Christian Sword Series” and others, we talked about the lessons we could learn from the Spartan 300.  They were a fighting unit like no other.  One of their most notable traits was their strategy of never fighting alone.  Each Spartan would guard the back of their partner and the other would do the same.  What happened to this?  Look how successful the Spartans were and how long their legacy lived on.  What legacy are we leaving?  If we don’t change anything, we’re telling our sons to expect to be alone and to just learn to deal with it.  Yeah, not so much.

Jesus had disciples and when he ascended into heaven, these disciples began traveling together spreading the Gospel.  Paul spent most of his Christian life in relationship with other Christian men, living life on life.  The books to Timothy show Paul’s dedications to not being alone.  In one of his letters toward the end of his life, he asks Timothy to bring his favorite cloak.  You cannot tell me he and Timothy were not close, thus, he helped to set the stage for what Christian men need to get back to today.

So what is an accountability group?  Simply stated, it is a group of Christian men who get together to not only go through a bible study, but more importantly, take some time living life on life.  Questions like, how’s the job going?  What is going on in your marriage?  How is your struggle with _____?  These are the most important aspect of any Christian men’s group.  I believe too many times, leaders of such groups spend more time on bible study than they do actually discipling.  This is an art, an art we could look to Jesus to help us understand.

When going through the Gospels, we see Jesus actively seeking out disciples which was unheard of in his time as a rabbi, which is what many saw him as.  Once they were in the fold, Jesus spent a lot of time with these guys living.  They traveled together, ate together, went through trials together, and also ministered together.  It was this life on life, daily discipling curriculum Christ used to prepare his disciples to go on in his absence.  Along with the Holy Spirit, these men were able to continue doing what Christ had done with them with other men.  We have got to get back to this model.

In the next post, we talk about what you should expect out of an accountability group.

What to look for in an accountability group. 
Have new posts delivered right to your email, click here.
Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
Share/Save/Bookmark

Subscribe

logo_facebook

About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

Advertisements
h1

Let it go Pharaoh!

January 16, 2012

I was thinking about the deliverance of Israel from Egypt the other day and was struck with a pretty tough question.  Am I more like Moses or the Pharaoh in the story?   Let me explain what I mean.

So, I was thinking about the Pharaoh and the passage referring to his hardened heart.  I began wondering to myself why he just didn’t let the Israelites go, what was he so afraid to let go of?  Then it occurred to me, I’m more like him than I care to admit.

Have you ever found yourself locked in on something like an iPad or car?  Even further, have you found yourself in a habitual sin because you have married yourself to another god rather than the real God?  If so, you might want to consider you are more like the Pharaoh.

Researchers who were studying some monkeys in their habitat put a plexi glass box with fruit in it within the monkey’s community.  There was a hole cut into the box that would allow the monkey’s hand to get into it, but not pull out the fruit.  If the monkey tried holding onto the fruit and pull their hands out, they would find themselves unable to do both.  The ultimate choice was to let go of the fruit and be free or continue to try to pull out the fruit to no avail.  Throughout the study, they found more often than not, the monkey could not bear to let go of their prized fruit.  You know, we all struggle with the same.

Pharaoh had an enormous internal struggle.  At the time, Pharaoh’s were worshiped as gods in their realm.  See God posed a threat to the identity held by Pharaoh, thus a portion of his power throughout the land.  If Pharaoh readily submitted to the call to “Let my people go,”  he would be admitting he was not God and that there was someone higher, with more authority than he had.  As you can imagine, this not only caused a major issue with his psyche, but it also created some pretty tough political ramifications as well.  In a sense, in order to keep his iron grip (or the grip on his fruit), he could not relent and submit to the Most High God.

As God normally does with all of us, he sent ten plagues, or as I like to see them, wake up calls.  Each of the plagues struck at various “gods” within the Egyptian culture, ultimately bringing the Pharaoh to his knees when he lost his first born.  At times, Christ will allow various trials within life to draw us closer to him to see him for who He truly is, the Most High God.  He does not play second to any of our lesser gods like money, pride, vanity, status, etc.  Instead, for those who believe in Him and lose their way, as a loving Father would, he chastens them to come back to him.    In the case of the Pharaoh, he was of course a nonbeliever, but I truly believe God used his hardened heart to teach all of us about the potential for our hearts to be given to some other god.

So, will it take ten plagues for you to let go of whatever is in that metaphoric plexi glass box in your life?  If not, you might want to brace yourself for the loving actions of your heavenly father.  Some call them plagues, others call them signs of a relentless God who will stop at nothing to manifest Himself to those who will believe.
Have new posts delivered right to your email, click here.
Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
Share/Save/Bookmark

Subscribe

logo_facebook

About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

h1

Best New Book for Men

January 12, 2012

I just completed reading this book and have to say it is one of the best books on Christian Men and Men’s Ministry.  I read it in about five hours because I could not put it down!

This book is written by the same author of Man in the Mirror (http://www.maninthemirror.org) and builds upon 7 Primal Principles of the man’s soul.  They are as follows:

1. To believe, really belive, that God knows, loves, and cares about me personally.

2. To believe my life has a divine purpose.

3. To break free from the destructive behaviors that keep dragging me down.

4. To satisfy my soul’s thirst for transcendence, awe, and communion with Christ.

5. To love and be loved without reservation.

6. To make a contribution and leave a legacy.

7. To feel and know I am not in this alone.

As one who feels particular called to the discipleship of men, this book was awesome and extremely relevant.  It isn’t one of those self-help books, but more of an eye-opening manual on how to become more “alive” as a Christian Man.  He addresses the tendency of men to lose heart, go silent, and anesthetize their pain through seclusion.  Many of us know how often men make the decision to follow Christ, but are then left to the wolf because no one disciples them.  If you think about it, discipleship was the first thing on the mind of Christ when He rose.  What did he do first?  Go after his disciples and reinforce the Gospel.  We should do the same.

Here are some scary stats on Christian Men shared in the book:

  • 80% are so emotionally impaired they’re unable to express or even identify their feelings
  • 55% of marriages experience financial dishonesty, mostly by the husband
  • 50% of men who attend church still seek out pornography
  • 40% get divorced affecting over 1 million children a year

I was on the floor when I saw these.  No wonder we have such a void in the church today of Christian Men, real Christian Men.  If you’re in ministry or in a men’s group or simply feel called by Christ to start something, I would highly encourage you to read this book!  Great read and very applicable.

Have new posts delivered right to your email, click here.
Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
Share/Save/Bookmark

Subscribe

logo_facebook

About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

h1

Enemy Behind the Line- Laziness

January 5, 2012

This series began with the first blog article entitled; “The Enemy Behind the Lines-The Lie” which focused on the lies Satan has convinced many of the men of today in believing.   In 2011, I fell victim to one of the most silent of the enemies, the ninja if you will: Laziness.

Let’s be real, it’s hard being a man, much less a Christian man.  With the world of our jobs, our families, the battles we all face internally, trying to push through can be quite overwhelming.  The “I’ll do that tomorrow” is always one of the last thoughts seeping through our mind before we slip off to sleep.  We don’t intend to be lazy, but one thing about laziness is that it sometimes just happens.

For starters, in 2011, I fell off the wagon.  Looking back, I think I only posted five or six articles the whole year.  I know that may not seem like a huge act of laziness, but to be honest, it was a symptom of a larger problem.  I got buried in my job and projects, and… well, is there really a good excuse.  The truth is, if I’m posting regularly, it usually means that I am having to do some research or preparation prior to.  Most of the research or inspiration for these posts come from what God is doing in my own heart through my own time with Him.  Sad to say, last year, I just got lazy.  I fell into the trap.

Romans 12:11 – Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.

What is zeal?  It can be defined many ways, all of which most of us fall short.  Staying in the Word helps keep this fervor alive and moving, but we let so many things get in the way.  It’s all too easy to let our schedules take over and not tithe our time.

So how do we guard against this enemy?  Here are a couple of thoughts:

1. Admit it is there.  As with the other enemies behind the line, you have to admit there is a problem or an area of concern before you can start allowing Christ to work on you.  Also, there is some freedom in admitting you have been lazy and not taken the necessary focus off of you and placed it on Christ and HIS will.

2. Tithe your time.  Once you battle the issue of tithing your money and remembering you are merely a steward of what Christ gives you, the next battle is remembering to tithe your time.  It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning, but if that works for you go for it.  You’ll find it is like working out physically, once you get into it, you will find yourself somewhat addicted and needing this time with Christ.

3. Pray with your family.  As if #2 wasn’t hard enough, this one is the bigger obstacle.  My family and I started this as preparation for Christmas doing the Countdown to Christmas Plan.   What we found was the kids really enjoyed it and we all did something many families don’t do anymore… talk.  I mean really talk.  We got to hear our kids’ fears, questions, help them understand things we just assumed they would know about the Bible.  It really got to be an amazing time.  One of the great things about doing this, is it reminds you of your role in the family and helps you be reminded that Christ calls us to love our wife and children.  How better to love them than to pray with them, lead them in a study.  More importantly, turning off the TV and whatever other “noise” to just be with family is a major win in today’s world.   How does this help laziness?  Have you ever tried telling a child, “No I just don’t feel like doing our bible study tonight?”  Um yeah, if you can get that phrase out of your mouth, there are bigger problems at hand.  Once you get into it, you will be blessed by what Christ does with the time.  Perhaps the most moving part every night for me as a man, husband, and dad was to hear my children praying.  I found it helps me remember why Christ said we have to be like children.

Hope this helps you at least take a look at where the enemy is hiding.  If you’re doing that, chances are, you’ll find the ninja soon enough!  Now, get off the computer and go spend some time in God’s word first by yourself, and then share it with your family.  Looking to a better, more disciplined 2012.
Have new posts delivered right to your email, click here.
Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
Share/Save/Bookmark

Subscribe

logo_facebook

About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

h1

Average Joe

December 14, 2011

The unfortunate truth is that the majority of Christian men are average at best in their pursuit for Christ’s heart. In reading through Scripture, we often tend to think that the great men of the Bible were somehow ordained with some greater gifts than we are.  In the book “Average Joe”, the author explores this lightly and provides numerous stories.  He shares his own experiences as well as the stories of ordinary men he’s known throughout his life.  A lot of these stories serve as  great examples of staying the course.

It is an easy read and I would encourage anyone looking for some great stories of ordinary men being used for God’s plan to read this book.

h1

Jolt! Get the Jump on a World That’s Constantly Changing

December 13, 2011

I recently read “Jolt!Get the Jump on a World That’s Constantly Changing” and to be honest, I was not all that impressed.  I felt the book was slightly light on substance.  Although it was well written in terms of ease of reading, I just found myself struggling to get any depth out of the content.

I would have to agree with other editorals that state, “I have read and reviewed literally hundreds of self-help books. Most have similar common themes, as does Phil Cooke’s JOLT!. Going through the phases of being able to accept yourself for who you are and looking inside to determine what your gift or passion is. The book discusses going over goals, how to prioritize personal events and how you operate at work. Many books go into the moral purpose of the individual along with their true faith, as does Cooke.”

If you’re looking for an easy read, I would suggest it, however, if you’re looking for something mind shattering, I would not recommend this book.

h1

Be A Man of Christmas!

December 3, 2011

My family and I have some great friends who had a passion to bring the real meaning of Christmas back into families.

So, in their own words:

“As a parent there is nothing more exciting than watching your little ones get hyped-up about Christmas. You anxiously wait for this moment, from the time they are born…and then that special time finally arrives. Your children become eager to help put up the Christmas tree, string up colorful outdoor lights, and listen to catchy Christmas tunes. This is our story; this is our tale to tell: Our oldest daughter was four years old, and our middle son was three, and they were pumped for what Christmas had in store. As any good parent would do, we thought of all the possible fun and creative traditions we could start with our children. We specifically wanted ideas that would make an impact on their childhood. STRESS!!! We scattered our memories of our own personal childhood traditions, and also discussed with our closest friends, what they did for their children. On a four hour car trip to the coast, my husband and I started brainstorming. We talked about Santa, elves, making homemade candies and cakes, but there was one thing we both agreed on. We wanted to teach our children the true meaning of Christmas, and instill in them values that would last a lifetime. Before you know it, The Christmas Angel idea literally fell into our laps! I jotted our creative thoughts onto a notepad that I was using for last minute gift ideas. The concept was certainly God-inspired, and this inspiration will stay in our hearts forever.”

My wife and I were on board immediately not only because the creators were friends, but also because we had a similar disdain for how the Christmas story has gotten muffled by the noise of the world.  So, this year, we were so excited to introduce the Christmas Angel to our family as a new tradition.  Of course, as Christ always does, our family time has become something we never would have thought of.

We decided to do the Countdown to Christmas plan on Youversion.com in conjunction with our Christmas Angel nightly.  So, every night, we spend some time going through God’s Word and praying as a family.  Sadly enough, we were surprised how excited the kids have become with this new tradition, almost nagging us every thirty minutes to have Bible Story time.  This is shadowed greatly by the wonderful conversations and teaching we have been able to experience, not to mention the gut wrenching, innocent prayers our children have offered up in the process.

So, my Man Challenge for you?  Check out the Christmas Angel, order one, and begin a new tradition in your family.  You can go to Youversion.com and pick one of the countdown plans for Christmas and make this time a priority with your family.  You’ll see some pretty amazing results:

  • Closeness with Christ
  • Closeness with your wife
  • Your children will bond with you
  • You take your family back!

My family and I sincerely hope you have an amazing Christmas!

Have new posts delivered right to your email, click here.
Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
Share/Save/Bookmark

Subscribe

logo_facebook

About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.