Posts Tagged ‘change’

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Change Agent-From the Inside Out

May 8, 2011

Every change agent in history, whether it be Scriptural or not, have a deep sense of calling.  Moses had a calling from God through a burning bush, Jeremiah was called by God audibly, the Spartans were called by a sense of duty to protect, the founding fathers of the United States were called by the sense of individual liberty, and the list goes on.

In looking at our lives, we must first examine what it is we are called to do.  For some, it might be mission work in a third world country, while for others; it could be a calling to the mission field known as our neighborhood.  Whatever the calling, before you can understand what Christ is calling you to become a change agent for, you must pray for your heart to be opened to the calling.  This is the first and sometimes, the most difficult step.  It starts from the inside out.

While I was working as an executive head hunter, I had the opportunity to speak with one of my candidates who was interviewing for a job here in Birmingham.  This candidate had traveled from California, where at the time, was suffering from a raging blaze that was consuming land and homes alike.  In fact, her flight was almost canceled due to the threat of her home being in the path of the raging fire.

All of that said, we had a unique conversation on the way back from the airport about the fires and how they spread.  She made a comment to the effect of, “it’s tough not being able to run the air conditioner, but it keeps my home safer.”  Of course, this struck me odd so I asked the reasoning for not running the air condition (which is unheard of where I live during the summer).  She began telling me how the fire expanded not by its own efforts, but by the wind.  Naturally, I thought she was alluding to the wind’s ability to push the fire along its path.  In fact, it was the contrary.

What would the wind be able to do outside of pushing the blaze in either direction?  I was astounded to discover the real threat came from the embers the wind would carry.  If one were to have their air condition on, the unit would pull in air from the air outside and push it through the various ducts throughout the house.  All it would take was one or two of these embers being sucked into the air ducts to begin a raging fire.  In my candidate’s words, “The houses burn from the inside out.”

For the rest of the week, my mind continued to chew upon this new bit of information.  I found great correlations between this story and the Holy Spirit’s ability to start with a simple, small word from one believer to a nonbeliever and turn it into a house consumed with fire.  One that started from the inside.

Most of Scripture’s greatest people had this small, all most inconspicuous ember be delivered to their hearts.  Over time, we start to see how that small ember slowly consumes everything and it becomes a raging fire in their lives.  These agents find themselves open to Christ moving in their lives and transforming them, conforming them to His image.

One of my favorite songs currently remains one written by Hillsong called “Inside Out.”  After writing this article, I could not help but to turn this song on and let it become my prayer again.  I hope you enjoy it and may it help you recognize that small ember waiting to burn inside of you.

Join us as we continue to discuss how today’s Christian Men can step up and become the Christian Warrior their family, friends, work, and community need them to be.

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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.

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Enemy Behind the Line: Coveting

March 11, 2010

Continuing our series on the “Enemy Behind the Line“, I wanted to spend some time on one enemy I see challenging every Christian, especially Christian Men; that of coveting.

The other day, I was driving to an appointment and found myself mesmerized by a car in the other lane.  I know this sounds pretty crazy, but I went so far as to pick the color I would want this vehicle in, how it would ride, what others would think… before too long, I realized I had spent about five minutes in a dream about this vehicle.  Ok, so that part was lusting for the car of my dreams, but coveting sure jumped on board quick.  How so?  The car of my dreams was being driven by a kid who could not have been more than 18 years old.  THIS WAS A $52,000 vehicle?  (Can you sense the rage?)

So what is coveting?  Coveting something is to feel immoderate desire for that which is another’s.  Of course we all know it is one of the Ten Commandments referenced in Exodus 20, but why is it so dangerous?  Why is it considered one of the enemies behind the line? (If you have followed any of the posts in the “cartoon section” of my blog, you would most likely bet I am about to use one of the cartoon or Pixar movies as a metaphor.  If you guessed this, you’re right!)

I love the movie Nemo for so many reasons.  It shows so many sides of the human character, all while making you laugh at how truly “sheep-like” we all tend to be.  One of the characters, or group of characters, I love to watch own the screen with just one word: “MINE!”

If you think about their behavior, you will remember how consumed they become with getting whatever it is they have their eyes fixed on.  When they are trying to get Nemo and Dory, some of them fly right into the sail of a ship, but never stop saying “Mine?”

Coveting is very much like this.  It is an elusive, addiction-forming drug that starts with only a drip into our spiritual blood stream.  Before long, it is all we can think about or every time we see this fixation, we are consumed with envy and conspire ways we can get “it.”  It could be something as simple as an outfit, or something as complex as a house in “that neighborhood.”  Before too long, our flesh begins to pine for it and our mind is obsessed with “it” and will not rest until we have “it.”

We are called to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  If you strip this verse down, it is simply the first commandment.  So why does coveting cause such strife not only in our minds, but our lives?  This intoxicating sin replaces God from the throne of our lives and replaces Him with an “it.”  In no short order, we begin to worship an idol.  Not the little wooden ones, but the ones of this world, made by us: money, position, house, spouse, fame, prestige, honor, attention, and the list could go on.

Unfortunately, most of us do not realize we are coveting when we do it.  We may simply wisk it to “wishful thinking.”  Despite our attempts to dress it up, we have to call it what it is and pray through it.  One verse I try to focus on in an attempt to keep this behavior in check is the verse from Luke 10:27, “love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.”

Think about the things in life you want most.  If Christ and His will are not at the top, you are most likely looking into the eyes of one of the enemies behind the line.

If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

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Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
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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.

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The Christian Sword – The Guard

December 22, 2009

The most effective piece of armor to be used against any enemy is the warrior’s sword.  Unfortunately, for most Christians, I would daresay this is the one piece of armor that is rarely used, and if used, used effectively.  Truly, the sword for the Christian Warrior is to be that of  “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  But for most of us, we do not know what this means?

In the last posts, A Warrior’s Sword and A Warrior’s Sword-The Handle, we opened the discussion by opening Ephesians 6 and discussing the sword as part of the armor.  In spiritual warfare, the enemy is at our doorstep.  For those of us who are Christian Husbands or Christian Fathers, this war is a daily one.  Again, as we explore this passage, we have to remember that when Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians, especially the passage we are discussing, Ephesians 6:10-20, war was a bit more personal.  So we have discussed the sword and the handle, let’s move on to the guard.

Every sword had a portion of it right above the handle referred to as the guard.  There are a multitude of styles of the guard, but each of them served a major function for the warrior.  In personal, hand to hand combat, the warrior was incredibly exposed to injury from all angles and the guard of the sword was critical for protecting the warrior’s hands.  If your only weapon was the sword, an injury to your hand could be life threatening.

The same is true with God’s Word.  If we truly understand the meaning and importance of the handle, we will spend more time in the Word daily.  Just as the Word can prove to be an attack on evil, it is also our guard against the attacks of Satan.

We use what Christ teaches us through His Holy Word as a baseline for decision making.  For those who are lost or without Christ, the whole idea of right and wrong can be greatly affected by the world.  If you were to look over various generations, the views of what was “wrong” or “unthinkable” has changed with the passing of year.  On the contrary, those who spend time in the Word of God, this baseline of decision making has little “wiggle room.”  Decisions made cannot be simply reasoned away, but rather, have to balance with what we are told in Scripture.

Scripture is also our guard for when we are under spiritual attack.  I know personally, when worry and anxiety overcome me, I reflect upon Phil 4:4, “Be anxious for nothing.”  When I feel the need to speak my mind, I am reminded of the Scripture verses that speak to the danger of a loose tongue.  As a warrior, it is vital for me to keep my mind guarded against the schemes of Satan and the tricks of this world.

If I do not spend time training myself, I will be weak against what the world tells me is right.  The beauty of Scripture is the way it permeates through every aspect of our lives when we devote time to His Holy Word.  If we spend the appropriate amount of time learning how to use our weapon, the powerful nature of the Word is it will also serve as a guard against our enemy’s attacks.

If you would like more on the Christian Sword, check out the  series of post covering the uses of Scripture in the daily life of every Christian Warrior.

The Handle

The Guard

The Blade

Join us as we continue to discuss how today’s Christian Men can step up and become the Christian Warrior their family, friends, work, and community need them to be.

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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.