Posts Tagged ‘christian family leadership’

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Gospel Thoughts from Olympics 2012-Synchronized Diving

August 6, 2012

I thought in the spirit of the Olympics I could do a couple of posts with the Olympic theme.  As most things in creation, there are a number of things we could learn from the games.  In this first post, let’s talk about synchronized diving.

I watched this sport and as with most of them, was completely amazed with the precision of the dives and the amount of time and training it had to have taken to perfect the dives.  Think about it, most of us could barely do the dives alone much less attempt to coordinate every move with a partner.  Each move had to be perfectly timed and coordinated for the dive to work right.  I marveled at the precision of the teams throughout the swim meet.

Again, everything in creation points to the Gospel and synchronized diving is no exception.   There are numerous Scriptures that came to mind while watching the games.  Here are just a few:

  • Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12.2
  • Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. 1 Corinthians  15.49
  • He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Hebrews 1.3

If you think about it, the Gospel is centered around the essence of Christ who was the very image of God.  The two were one or for the matters of our discussion, synchronized.  At the river when Christ came out of the water, the Trinity was fully exposed, further showing the synchronization Christ had with the heavenly throne.  The divers could be another (although scaled down) example of the synchronization of Christ with God the Father.

Likewise, we are to be in communion with Christ so much so that we look like the two divers in the picture above.  Each routine had one of the divers as the captain providing direction to ensure the movements were perfectly mimicked.  How emphatic would the Gospel in our life be if we were to truly conform ourselves to the image of Christ?  Each move of ours in step with that of our Captain so that when we dive into the situations of our lives, we are completely in line with and conformed to that of Christ.   The result would be an image of true surrendering one’s life and the beauty that follows.

Finally, these divers did not just begin diving together completely in sync.  It took days and months, if not years of practicing together.  We need to remember that we cannot simply take the dive one day thinking our lives would be completely in line with Christ.  It takes days of consistently being in communion with Christ so that in time, our moves are completely in line with our Savior.

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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. 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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A Portrait of David:What Happens When a Man Doesn’t Go To Battle

February 7, 2012

The account of David’s sin with Bathsheba is often used to teach about temptation, especially sexual temptation.  I will agree this is a great story for us to use, but often, there is a great lesson to be learned in the from the text proceeding the story.

1 And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.  2 Samuel 11

Interesting isn’t it?  The author made it a point to state that David “tarried still at Jerusalem.”  Traditionally, in David’s time, kings would go to any battles in the Spring with their armies.  In previous chapters, you will see David leading his army into battle.  Why this time did he stay home?  No one knows the answer to that question, we just know the outcome.   I believe there is a good lesson for men to learn from David’s epic fail, and essentially, the epic fail of most of us who call ourselves Christians.

The very minute we decide to get off the battlefield and tarry around or hang back is the very second we open ourselves up for temptation.  Although we do not do physical battle, we do have battles we fight as outlined in Ephesians 6.  We have continue to immerse ourselves in the Word of God daily and if we don’t, it is the same as us staying off the battlefield.  We open ourselves to potential attacks, the sneakiest of kinds.

As noted by many references, David was simply strolling on the roof, not really looking for trouble.  The fact is, if he had been at battle where he should have been, that glance would not have turned into a question which turned into a meeting which turned into sin and destruction.

Here are some quick items to walk away with:

  • If you’re not in God’s Word daily, change that!
  • If you are not meeting with an accountability partner or group, get into one
  • Get into a church family that will nourish your walk and help keep you focused on Christ
  • Stay in the battle.  If you feel yourself getting off the battlefield, let a fellow Christian know

Hope this helps you in your walk.  In our next post, we will talk about the difference between the predator and the prey.
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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. 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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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.

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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. 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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40 Days in a Desert

July 26, 2010

I oftentimes find myself going through a period of desolation in my daily walk.  Granted, most of the time I arrive at one of these points is due to my sin causing a great abyss between Jesus and me.  There are times, however, that the slightly standoff feeling arises,do you ever experience this? Let me explain.

A young couple after being married for a short time had reached a point in their relationship where the initial feelings of “in love” were no longer there.  For some reason, they could not seem to reinvent the beginning passion they once enjoyed.  After some time, they began to drift further apart, eventually seeking this “in love” euphoria from other aspects of life: parties, other romances, work, you name it.  The overriding reality was that the hunger was there for something fulfilling, it just lacked the effort.

Sometimes we all go through the same sort of problem in our relationship with Christ.   We may come off of a dynamic retreat or some other type of spiritual experience and realize after a few days of the real world, the euphoria has worn off.  It can be a vast expanse of loneliness and frustration, those times when you pray and do not “feel” as if Christ is listening.

The Israelites had the same type of problem as Moses was leading them through the desert.  While in the literal wilderness, they began to fall away from the very one who had delivered them from slavery.  It is not to go unmentioned this nation had witnessed the saving power of God first hand with the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, not to mention the pillar of fire that led them through the first part of the desert.  With all of this first hand, “see it with my own eyes” testimony to the reality of God, they still wondered.  Their wilderness was literal, but the manifestations of what brought them there is the same as the behaviors you and I do on a regular basis.  It can simply be broken down to laziness.

When you are going through a wilderness, there is one vital thing to remember, Christ promised to never leave or forsake us.  Perhaps this season of your life is intentional on the part of God to teach you something, prune something out of your life, or simply allow you to grow.  Imagine going through an actual desert, nothing but sand in sight for miles and miles.  Would you not have a renewed sense of joy and thankfulness when you finally reach a piece of land with water, trees, food…? Sometimes in our daily walk with Christ, we reach a point of complacency.

Another important aspect of the desert is the ability for the experience to prune us, take us deeper.  As a new Christian, I felt at times, as if Christ was right next to me as I prayed, I could “feel” His presence as I entered into worship of him.  Gradually over time, my schedule would get in the way of my daily time with God.  Instead of spending my day praying, or simply talking with Christ, I found myself giving a last ditch “hey there thank you” prayer as I drifted off to sleep.  Hardly what is Christ deserved.  Through my laziness and lack of intimacy, I began to lose that “feeling.”  Over time, this helped me grow.

During my desert times, I remember the Psalm that I love to hate.. (I say that reverently of course.)  This verse was given to me several times throughout my first major lull, so much so, I could never get away from it.  I would open to it randomly in my Bible, see it on bumper stickers, or even admire a painting only to realize in the lower right hand a reference to it.   There was one time when I had enough and literally yelled to God, “What does this stupid verse mean?” (My neighbors thought I was nuts.)

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”

I encourage you to read this verse if you are currently experiencing a desert in your walk.  Pray over it and be sure to read the follow up to this blog explaining how this applies to the wildernesses of our lives.

Part II

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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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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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Scars

November 9, 2009

Looking in the mirror, I see a scar on my nose between my eyes.  May not be noticeable to many people, but I see it.  It’s fairly small now, but when I was younger, it took up the bridge between my eyes.  When I notice it, I remember the event that brought the scar as if it were yesterday.

Running around the church building during Vacation Bible School, I blacked out for a moment and woke up to find people standing around me asking if I was ok.  Only five, I didn’t think anything of the pain throbbing between my eyes, however, the blood that I saw did change things.  I can vividly remember who was around me, the weather that day, the feeling at the doctors’ office and the feeling of being strapped to a board as they operated on my wound.  Funny how a little scar can bring back such vivid memories isn’t it?

I found it interesting while reading John 20 how Christ showed himself to the disciples upon His resurrection.

John 20:20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

After reading this verse, I began thinking about the pictures of Christ I have seen growing up.  As I thought about it, I can hardly think of one picture where Christ does not bear the wounds of Calvary.  It was the scars Christ bore on His body that made the disciples recognize him.  The scars showed where the nails and spear pierced His body and proved what God had brought him through.

Outside of the scar on my nose, I hold deeper scars, perhaps barely visible, if at all, to those around me.  These are scars from painful decisions I have made in life or the result of wrongs dealt to me.  Regardless of their origin, I still bear them, as do you.  Maybe you choose not to get too close to people around you as the result of a scar left by someone who violated your trust.  Perhaps you have been emotionally abused and those scars prohibit you from taking an type of criticism without putting up a fight.  Regardless of the scar, we can all admit to how deep they run and the lasting effects they have on our everyday lives.

If you’re like me, Satan uses some of these scars to remind me of past mistakes and to deter me from activities Christ may be urging me to get involved with.  Unfortunately, a number of us fall into this silo and never recover from whatever traumatic experience we have had.  We feel remorse, shame, embarrassment and avoid the topic at all costs.  In fact, when the subject begins to head in that direction, we are usually overtaken with anxiety.

Paul, when writing to the early church, made mention of the scars he had for the Gospel and found peace in them.  We too should follow his lead.  Instead of an addiction reminding us of our bad decisions, perhaps we should use them as a witness to prove what Christ has redeemed us from.  Radical thought isn’t it?

Our enemy would rather we focus more on our shortcomings and see these as barriers to witnessing to those around us.  I’d venture to say many Christians fall into this trap and never see the opportunities to minister to those we come into contact with everyday.  I’d venture to say as men, we struggle with this more than women due to our pride.

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.  2 Cr 11:30

Christ isn’t looking for perfection, He’s looking for men who will be willing to bear their scars as a testimony to what Christ can do with someone’s life when they submit to Him and His sovereignty.  What scars do you have that you could use to tell the world Jesus is alive?

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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 contributes to KingdomBusiness.com as a writer on Christian Leadership.

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September 4, 2009 edition of Christ Men Blogcarnival

September 30, 2009

Bible SEO presents Joseph: Bible Character Study posted at Bible Studies | Bible Study Lessons | Inductive Bible Study Guide.

Joseph-Egypt-300x254He was seventeen years old. He was a shepherd. He did not participate in his brothers’ misconducts. In fact, he brought reports of their mischief to his father. He was the favorite of Jacob. Jacob loved him more than all his brothers. Jacob made a coat of many colors for him.  His brothers hated him for this reason and could not even talk with him well.
Who does this describe?  Joseph!  There’s a lot we, as men, could learn from the life of Joseph.  Be sure to check out this great Bible study on this intriguing character!

Rick Schiano presents Let Go, for Mental Peace posted at Ricks Victory Blog.

Letting go in the mental category! Now that’s not quite as simple as the physical category! It’s really easy to retain the negative in life. Let’s face it the whole world lives in the negative. Television is basically negative look at most shows. There’s plenty of murder, sarcastic humor, and sadness. Commercials basically try to motivate the buyer by fear. You need to get the flu shot now or you may die or  get sick with out it. Fear runs rampant in  our society. The news is basically depressing and sad; there is very little good news to be found on the major networks, in the newspapers and on the radio.

Michael Holmes presents How Kanye West taught me about God?s forgiveness posted at Raise Thee Up Blog.

Jesus_132

Michael Holmes, one of my personal favorites, is back again!  From Michael: I’ve learned a lot from this whole Kanye West-Taylor Swift incident. I learned about the pride of one superstar and the character of another.  I learned how God can use adversity from my good. I also learned how unforgiving people can be. I mean, everybody knows Kanye messed up. And we all know he’s messed up before. And even though he apologized most of us still want him crucified. Is it any wonder we have trouble believing God can forgive us?

Anthony Delgado presents One on One Time With the Lord posted at eInquisitive | Giving you something productive to think about!.

This post isn’t specific to Christian men, but I find that when my relationship with God suffers, as the man in my household, my entire household suffers. Spiritually leading a family starts with a personal relationship with God.

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.Technorati tags: , .