Posts Tagged ‘christian children’

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September Blog Carnival Post: Christian Men Christian Warrior

August 31, 2009

In an effort to provide some various viewpoints on common topics important to men, we will host a Blog Carnival the first week of every month.  For those who may not know what a “Blog Carnival” is, it is simply a collection of submitted blog posts on a particular topic or forum.

This month, we have a host of topics from personal finance to being a dad to… well, let’s just get started.

Redistribution of Wealth- Is it Biblical?

This post is from Steven Toschlog who works as an accountant in Richmond, Indiana.  Wealth redistribution is a hot political topic these days. Some argue President Obama’s economic policies are essentially moving money from one group of people to another by raising and lower taxes accordingly. The term “wealth redistribution”, equated to socialism by some, could be defined as taking money from the rich and giving it to the middle class or poor. Whether you agree with this definition of wealth redistribution or the use of the term itself, Jesus Himself supports it, but in reverse…. Read more by clicking here.

A Father’s Love

This is post, although relatively short, is a great read for fathers.  Perhaps one of my favorite portions of this post states: “The truly amazing thing is that God loves us even more than we can love our own children.  I often sit and think about how remarkable that really is.  His love for us is unending.  He gave his life on the cross so that we could be free to have a life in heaven with him.”  To continue reading this great article, click here.

Parenting Spiritual Champions

Another post related to Christian Dads is this one from Legacy Dad.  This blog post looks at some real world statistics on parents who have raised Spiritual Champions.-children who are now adults and consider themselves active, saved Christians who are still working on spiritual growth as young adults or parents themselves.  This is a must read for fathers wanting to get some tips for raising their own Christian Warriors.  To enjoy this great read, click here.

Fatherly Guilt

I know I struggle with fatherly guilt.  In this post from Different Frequencies Same Radio, the dynamics of how we, as fathers, spend time with our wives and kids is discussed.  I know any dad would be able to identify with the points in this great article.  Click here to read more.

Joseph-Father of Jesus

Talk about a tough fatherly role… imagine being Joseph, asked to be the fatherly role model for Christ.  No pressure there!  In this post from Bible SEO, there are great points about Joseph’s life and all of us could stand to walk in his footsteps.  This is a great format for male readers… click here to read more.

A Simple Word

I am constantly convicted on my choice and use of words.  In this post from Vida Nueva Christian Ministries, the post goes over some great key points to consider when using words.  I know this will be one I choose to refer back to often, I hope you will too.  Click here to read this great post.

How to Overcome Temptation

Yet another great post from Bible SEO.  The title says enough.  If you like a systematic style of reading and studying God’s word, this blog is a great resource.  Click here to read this particular blog post.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of christian men using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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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.

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Using Chicken Little to Teach Kids about Mistakes

July 28, 2009

Unfortunately, I am not one of those “perfect Christians” who has never made a major mistake in their lives.  Although I do take great relief in the grace Christ has shown me through his sacrifice for my mistakes, sins, bad decisions, etc, I still find myself struggling with the reminders of my mistakes.  I struggle with how they not only affect me, but how they affect my relationships and my witness.  When I look at my children, I see the same anxiety and pain in their eyes which scares me.

So how do you talk to your children about redemptive grace?  How do you help a child understand that Christ chooses to forgive your sins and not hold them against you?  Who could you give as an example of victory for a child to understand?  Enter in: Chicken Little.

If you have followed any of the posts in the series, “How to teach your kids about Christ, using movies“, you most likely know I really enjoy watching children movies.  Last night, I was watching Chicken Little with my little girl.  (It was Daddy Date Night!)  Though its exact origins are unknown, chances are you have heard the story of Chicken Little, a diminutive fowl who is struck by an acorn and misinterprets the event as indicating that the sky is falling. That fable provides a starting point of sorts for this vastly expanded and reconfigured take. Chicken Little here is an undersized middle school boy (voiced by Zach Braff) who has a large, unflattering reputation to live down following his (widely-believed) misguided panic.

chickenlittledadIn one of the scenes, the father is driving Chicken Little home and the discussion evolves to what the dad calls Chicken Little’s “Big Mistake.”  It seems as if poor Chicken Little just cannot shake this awful event in his life.  Even if he could forget it, those in his life would not allow him.  Does this sound familiar?

As I mentioned before, I have made numerous mistakes in life and unfortunately, the casualties have not all been mine.  I am often reminded of them while I am in prayer, leading a small group, or doing anything for the Kingdom.  Although this sort of attack should not surprise me, it does still shake me and cause doubt. I was once told by an older lady in the church that when the devil started to remind you of your past, remind him of his future and he’ll quickly shut up.  That does work sometimes, but what about the times it doesn’t?

“But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

2 Corinthians 1:9

I cling to this verse in times of trial over my past.  I have to remind myself of it constantly and repeat it so that I do not do what the enemy wants me to do and simply lay down.  Chicken Little is a great example of how this could work.  Although he too struggled with the mistake he made, he did not let it dictate his current situations.  His mission was to do something great and essentially redeem that event in the minds of others.  There was no doubt in his mind he could do it.  It was simply a matter of when.

So what are the lessons we could use from Chicken Little’s Big Mistake to teach our children?

1.  2 Corinthians 1:9 ~ Another way to teach this verse to children is convey to them that we all need Jesus because of our weaknesses. The old “Yes Jesus Loves Me” song talks of how we are weak be He is strong.  Help your child to understand that Christ does not expect perfection, but obedience and repentance.

2.  Our Past DOES NOT Define Us~ So many times we fall into the trap of who we were and not who we are in Christ.  I wish someone would have taught me that lesson early in my childhood.  Just like Chicken Little, we should not let our “Big Mistake” define our current situations.  If we have sinned, we need to confess and repent, but we should not dwell.  It is Christ’s mercy that defines who we are, not our weaknesses.

3. You should talk about your worries. There is a double lesson here: one for the child and one for the parent.  After watching the movie, I asked myself “How many times do I actually stop to listen to my children’s fears or their thoughts?”  I think all parents are guilty of merely discounting our children’s worries as trivial and moving on with our day.  I am not one who advocates dwelling upon the subject, but I do need to at least address it and discuss it with my children.  If they do not learn about Christ’s mercy from me through my example, where will they learn it?

All in all, we all have mistakes we would like to simply go away.  I am sure Paul would have liked that whole “terrorist” section of his life to go away, but it did not.  I wonder how many times he felt ashamed to be called by the one he persecuted to serve those he once persecuted?  After pondering this thought, it’s no wonder he wrote so much about the redemptive power of Christ’s mercy and grace.  We often write what we have the most experience with.

In our service on Sunday, we had the cardboard testimonies of those who have had major issues in their lives redeemed by Christ.  I thought I would share the message with you.  Watch it by clicking here.

If you would like more in this series, please be sure to check out the other articles in Using Movies to Witness.

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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.

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Enemy Behind the Lines- Self-Righteousness Part II

July 18, 2009

In our series on the Enemy Behind the Lines, we have explored a number of enemies to our personal walk with Christ.  These enemies behind the line refer to those sometimes silent, stealthy that can undermine the efforts made in our daily walk with Christ.  We are continuing our discussion on Christian Self-Righteousness.

Let’s pick up with Romans 2: 4:

“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”

Paul brings out three attributes of God’s riches: kindness and forbearance and patience.  These are key to understanding Paul’s point.

God’s Kindness or Goodness is often referred to as loving kindness, and in other translations, the word used here is Goodness.

Goodness may be considered God’s kindness to us in regard to our past sin. He has been good to us because He has not judged us yet though we deserve it.  James 1:17, “Every good and perfect thing comes from you…”  Goodness is a natural manifestation of God, the perfect one

The Greek word used here is the word used for Easy or loosely translated as “fit for use or able to use again.”  It is through the Goodness/Kindness of Christ that we are able to move past our forgiven sin and be “used again” by Christ in his mission.  When we see or experience God’s goodness, we should understand:

  • God has been better to them than they deserve
  • God has shown them kindness when they have ignored Him
  • God has shown them kindness when they have mocked Him
  • God is not a cruel master and they may safely surrender to Him
  • God is perfectly willing to forgive them
  • God should be served out of simple gratitude

God’s Forbearance may be considered God’s kindness to us in regard to our present sin. This very day – indeed, this very hour – we have fallen short of His glory, yet He holds back His judgment against us.  Once we move past the past sin, many Christians struggle with the fact that they are still sinning daily.  Forbearance means “a holding back” & denotes “forbearance,” a delay of punishment.  Forbearance is  not of His forgiveness, but His withholding due punishment.

God’s Patience or Longsuffering may be considered God’s kindness to us in regard to our future sin. He knows that we will sin tomorrow and the next day, yet He holds back His judgment against us.  “Longsuffering is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish; it is the opposite of anger, and is associated with mercy, and is used of God.”  Mercifully, God knows that we are going to sin tomorrow, yet through his patience with us, he continues to hold back the wrath of justice, or the penalty for our sin.  Many Christians, including me, cannot comprehend this quality of Christ.  It was Christ’s “longsuffering” on the cross that we were saved.

So how does this relate to our discussion on Christian Self-Righteousness?  Many of us revel in the goodness, forbearance, and patience granted to us by accepting Christ as our Savior, however, we often forget that same essence of God’s riches also applies to those are lost.  Christian Self-Righteousness will often blind us to the other side of Christ’ riches-His justified wrath.

In the next post, we will discuss the natural outcome of being exposed to the riches of Christ-a call to repentance.

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

Guilt

Fear Part I

Fear Part II

Unwillingness to Change

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

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Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
Share/Save/Bookmark

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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.

Christ-like Leadership, Christian coaching, Christian Leader, Christian Leadership, Christian perspectives, church leadership, Christian men, Christian warrior, Christian Home Leadership, Christian father, Christian husband, Christian dad, Christian family leadership, Christian children, Enemy Behind the Lines

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Enemy Behind the Lines- Guilt

July 4, 2009

it-is-finished-closebible.gif

Last words.  These are most likely two of the most chilling words for most of us.  In that one moment, we have the choice of a lifetime to make.  What would you say?  Who would you say it to?  What would you leave behind for those whom you love?

I would like for us to explore one last word in particular: Telos.

So what does Telos mean? “It is finished.” It is a translation of the Greek word tetelestai, the perfect indicative passive tense of the word telos.  The most interesting fact is that telos means to end; to bring to completion; to bring to a conclusion; to complete; to accomplish; to fulfill or to finish.

28 After this Jesus, knowing that all things are now finished, that the scripture might be accomplished, saith, I thirst.29 There was set there a vessel full of vinegar: so they put a sponge full of the vinegar upon hyssop, and brought it to his mouth.30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit. John 19: 28-30

In our series on the Enemy Behind the Lines, we have explored a number of enemies to our personal walk with Christ.  These enemies behind the line refer to those sometimes silent, stealthy that can undermine the efforts made in our daily walk with Christ.  One such enemy is that of guilt.  It would be fair to say every human being suffers from some aspect of guilt.

Guilt is the emotion of remorse that we use to judge and berate ourselves when we perceive ourselves of doing something wrong.  It takes various forms and can affect everything from our sleep, appetite, work, and relationships.  Guilt is personally something I have struggled with in my faith walk for as long as I can remember.

There is a difference in conviction from Christ and guilt.  Godly grief or conviction generally draws us closer to Christ.  Most of the time, when I feel convicted over a particular event or behavior, the Holy Spirit is convicting me on the need for confession and repentance.  Guilt or regret usually has me wanting to hide myself from Christ, embarrassed and unwilling at times to go before the throne.

Guilt is a great weapon for Satan to use and it remains “hidden” due to its wide acceptance by the world as an acceptable feeling for those sins we have committed in our lives.  In its basic sense, guilt is merely a misappropriation of the origin of grace.

Telos describes the true nature of Christ’s sacrifice. The grace every true Christian enjoys flows from the sacrifice of Christ and not by any actions of our own.  Guilt can be the result of not fully understanding grace and the redemption provided under the blood of the new covenant.

Personally, I have struggled with guilt that has functioned much like an anchor to my daily faith walk.  Rather than approaching the throne of God, I have often allowed guilt to keep me from looking into the eyes of my savior.  I had a misguided understanding of the difference between guilt and conviction, so being unable to distinguish between the two, I would often pray for forgiveness that had already been given, just not received.  In recent months, I have been able to fully understand one key verse:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The most interesting fact is that telos means to end; to bring to completion; to bring to a conclusion; to complete; to accomplish; to fulfill or to finish.  Other translations include definitions referring to a debt being paid. What was brought to completion on the cross?  What debt was paid?

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Conviction brings to your conscience those sins you need to confess to Christ and repent of.  Guilt reminds you of sins Christ has already forgiven.  Conviction allows you to reach for the wounded hand of Christ and his redemptive love, whereas guilt prevents you from looking into the eyes of the one who saved you.

If you find yourself fighting a battle with guilt, just know you are not alone.  Most Christians, if they were to be honest, struggle with guilt.  It is one of the enemies we rarely realize we are fighting.  It is one serving more like a double-agent than an all out enemy.  Yet all in all, it is one of the deadliest.  Join us as we continue to discuss possible meanings of Christ’s last words on the cross.  What does Telos mean for you?

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

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

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

Subscribe

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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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Selfish Desires – Seagulls

April 15, 2009

If anyone has seen the movie, Finding Nemo, everyone remembers the seagulls.  Their famous, repetitive phrase, “MINE!” reverberates in my ears every time I hear a seagull overhead. (If you click on the image, it will take you to a rough clip of the scene we will be discussing.) I have three children and much like the seagulls, I hear “MINE!” more times than I care to think.  It seems like one of the first of original sins is that of selfishness.

Although this is a funny scene, this depiction might allow you an opportunity to talk some about selfishness with your children.  Many of us would jump at the opportunity to take this subject head on, especially emphasizing the problems caused by sibling selfishness.  I would like to challenge you to take the message deeper and help your children understand what the Bible teaches us about selfish desires, and potential “end scenes” if this problem goes undiagnosed.

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.

– Matthew 16:24

Christ talks specifically about selfishness in many of his parables, but in this verse, he takes it head on.  I love how he states, “If you want to be my follower…” Deep down, I believe we all struggle with selfishness from time to time and to go even further, selfishness will often prohibit us from truly following Christ and going “All in,” if you will.  How many times do you think we sound like the seagulls in this scene to Christ?  Whether it be with our finances and the issue of tithing or simply, giving more of our time to the Kingdom by getting up earlier in the morning, we all usually tell Christ “MINE!”

So what are some of the lessons you could teach your children using the Seagulls in Finding Nemo?

1.  Selfishness will ultimately blind and bind you! One of my favorite parts of the clip is how the pelican is able to get away from the nagging seagulls in hot pursuit of what they claim as theirs.  In my humble opinion, it is a great example of how we could also use another great passage from Matthew:

But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
– Matthew 7:14

Just like the pelican, one who is unselfish is able to narrowly pass through openings most will not see, nor be able to pass through.  The seagulls, so blinded by their selfishness, were unable to see the narrow opening in the sail and soon found themselves bound in the sail itself.

2.  Selfishness is annoying not only to parents, but also to God. Although this particular clip is funny the first time, if you were to consistently here, “MINE!” all day, it would become rather annoying.  I would have to imagine this clip is a small commercial of what Christ often hears from those who love him.  MINE!  In one of the earlier scenes, the pelican is actually agitated by the constant gawking of gulls and tells them loudly to hush up. (he uses different words though)  The sound of selfishness to Christ has to be just as annoying and disheartening.  Christ left us constant reminders to be unselfish in our giving, just as he was.  Take some time to explain to your children how selfishness can lead to various other sins of the flesh.  It starts out annoying, but if left unchecked, it could become deadly.

3. It’s hard to stop. I laugh to myself when I think of how many times I am much like those gulls who are stuck in the the sail yet still manage to say, “MINE!”  Selfishness can become deeply rooted and this is a great reason to urge you to help teach your children about selfishness now!  Don’t you wish someone would have helped you earlier in life with this issue?  I know if the issue of “MINE!” would have been dealt with earlier in my life, perhaps I would not be wishing I had not spent so much time, money, sleepless nights, and other investments in chasing what I thought I was entitled to.

Before preaching to your children about selfishness,  I would strongly urge you to sift through the topic in your own walk.  Personally, I struggle with my selfish desires for something as simple as sleep.  I like sleep, but don’t see much of it.  I believe the last time I slept all night may have been prior to children.   I go through great lengths to defend my naptime on Saturdays and Sundays.  My schedule revolves around them and I wake up thinking about the next time I will be able to lay down.  Where most have something called sleep apnea, I have “lack of sleepaphobia.”

Sure, it’s funny, but I wonder if there are other things in my life that when Christ calls me to a deeper union with him, all I can respond with is “MINE!”

If you would like more in this series, please be sure to check out the other articles in Using Movies to Witness.

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

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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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Bruce the Shark- Knowing your Enemy

April 13, 2009

I know the movies created by PIXAR are supposed to be for kids, but they can also be great vessels to be used by Christ to teach us.  It may be too far of a stretch for some, but I guess the number of years I spent as a Youth Minister has slighted me to think this way.  One of my favorites is Finding Nemo.  What a story and what a load of characters!  There are so many biblical implications strewn throughout the movie, I would hardly know where to begin.

If you have not seen the movie, Nemo’s father is wondering about the ocean, looking for his son when he first encounters a shark who calls himself Bruce.  Initially, Bruce seems to be a jolly, fish-eater in recovery. One of my favorite lines recited by Bruce and his friends is, “Fish are friends, not food.”  Although they repeat this a couple of times, you begin to notice how the sharks’ natural urges begin taking over from time to time.

You know, Nemo’s dad knew that something was not right with the whole situation.  Regardless of how the sharks talked about not eating fish and went to their little meetings, deep down, his primal urge was still to avoid Bruce and his friends.  Although the sharks were very well behaved during their meeting, especially their leader Bruce, there was one instance that brought out the true animal within. Dory eventually bumps into something, causing a little bit of her blood to be in the water.  In an instant, the primal urges consume Bruce and he once again becomes the fish-eating machine.

So what are some of the lessons you can talk to your kids about using Bruce the Shark?

1.  Although the Enemy seems ok to talk to, it is only an act! Our children will find out all too quickly that the world will tempt us with wonderful ideals that all fizzle out to become spirit-threatening predators.  Talk with your children about how prayer and discernment can alert us to the “Bruces” of life.

2.  The Blood will expose the Enemy. Notice the blood brings out the predator in Bruce.  Explaining how the Blood of the Lamb will expose the Enemy’s predator nature might save your child from potential downfalls.  For that matter, this might be a lesson some adult Christians could stand to learn.  Unfortunately, the Enemy has had many years of training in the art of deception and lies.  Helping your child understand one of Satan’s greatest ploys by using this character as an example is one of the best things we can do as fathers!

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.  – 1 Peter 5:8

If you would like more in this series, please be sure to check out the other articles in Using Movies to Witness.

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.