Posts Tagged ‘Christian Leader’

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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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Man Alone-The Need for Accountability Groups Part II

January 19, 2012

In the previous post, Man Alone-The Need for Accountability Groups, we talked about the gradual decline of “pack mentality” of Christian men today.  Again, it is critical Christian men do not continue to go at it alone thinking that is their only option.

In this post we are going to look at some critical characteristics of a christian men’s accountability group.

Trait 1: Confidentiality

This is one of the most critical aspects of the group’s character.  If you do not have a group of men who respect confidentiality, you will never move past having the traditional, superficial groups where men continue to wear their masks.  It is crucial to a group’s survival and essence that men are able to take off the masks and be open, honest, and real with the other men in the group.  Some of the burdens we carry can be not only overwhelming but embarrassing.  In the early church, members would openly confess their sin and ask for not only prayers, but accountability.  With this in mind, look back at what happened to the early church: EXPLOSION.  Bearing your soul to other men allows you not only to release the burden, but also allows you to ask for accountability.  You cannot have this without true adherence to confidentiality.

Trait #2:- Confirmation

When one of the members of any sort of group shares something from their soul, they need confirmation.  I don’t care how uncomfortable or awkward it is, the worst that could happen for this individual is to hear crickets in the audience.  You don’t have to be able relate or empathize with him, simply confirm he said something for starters.  I have been part of groups where I have shared something to the welcoming sound of crickets in the room and I can tell you, it took me a while before I shared anything else.  This scar not only affected the group I was in, but other groups I participated in going forward.  This does not spark growth.  Confirmation of someone taking the leap to throw themselves out there is key for continued growth within the accountability group.

Trait #3- Consistency

If you decide to join one of the accountability groups in your church or area, be sure it is one which meets consistently and frequently.  Remember, the lion goes after the ones not close to the herd.  As a pack, we have to stick closely to our fellow warriors and can only do this if the group we are involved in meets consistently.  Sure, there will be times around holidays when meeting can be almost impossible, but don’t forget most everyone has a phone or email.  Sending a text message of encouragement can be all someone needs to get through the mini battle they are facing at the moment.  In addition to consistent meetings, there should always be consistent conversations/encouragement/relationship among the members.

Trait #4 – Code Words

Let’s face it, no one would feel comfortable with their accountability partner coming up to them and in the midst of the conversation ask, “So how’s your struggle with pornography going this week?”  Um yeah, just thinking about that kind of a situation sends most men into shut down mode.  One group I was a part of had the brilliant idea to come up with code words that only we knew.  One of the members in my group had the code word peeps.  So I’d occasionally text him and ask, “How’s the peeps doing?”  We’d have conversations among a group of people using our commonly used code words and be able to check each other on accountability, without anyone else knowing what was truly going on.  One guy’s wife asked him why everyone always asked him about his peeps?  Of course the guy shrugged it off, and we all got a good laugh about it.  Let’s face it, we’re all still five year old boys at heart and who doesn’t relish the idea of using code words as a spy?

Trait#5- Covenant

In biblical times, to go into covenant, or contract, with someone was pretty serious.  Unfortunately, in today’s realm, a lot of that has been diminished.   I would encourage you to talk to your group and devise a brief contract or covenant that everyone signs embracing the traits above.  This way, everyone is bound and everyone knows the rules of the group.  This is the one trait that is optional.

Hopefully, this has given you some ideas on what to look for in a group, or if you’re in a group, how to take it to the next level.  I encourage you to find a group of guys, open up, pray together and always, always, take care of the peeps in the group!
In the next post, we talk about what you should expect out of an accountability group.
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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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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. 
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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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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.
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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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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.