Posts Tagged ‘christian men’

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Where the Boat Separates

January 24, 2012

Wood is a pretty interesting material when you stop to think about it.  You can cut it, put it in water, let it sit out, make it curve and for the most part, it lasts.  Again, this is just one of the many awesome creations God made in his infinite creativity.  I guess it should be no surprise Jesus trained under a carpenter prior to launching his ministry of salvation.  I’ve always wondered why.

I am not claiming to know the divine answer to that question, but if I were allowed to be a bit creative and take a stab at it, I would have to say that we are a lot like wood.  Some of us like extremely warm climates, others can bear through the cold, some of us have to be chiseled, while others tend to bend when they need to.  All in all, we are a lot like the wood commonly used to build anything from a house to a boat.  Pretty interesting when you stop to think about it.

One of my fascinations has always been the large wooden colonial ships.  The engineering that went into it and the commerce that was opened as a result of these long distance carriers is amazing.  I often wondered how the wood on the ship lasted as long as it did.  When doing some research on this ADD thought, I discovered that the bottom of the boat that stayed under water was usually in great shape, primarily because it stayed underwater.  The part above the water stayed in pretty good shape because it was, well above the water.  The part of the boat which suffered was the area between.

Think of a ship’s hull and separate it into three parts.  You would have the top part (above the water), the bottom part (below the water), and the middle.  The middle portion would be the part of the boat that would sometimes be under the water and sometimes be above.  This could be the result of waves, tide changes, weight of the ship, etc.  This constant exposure to the two different environments often caused splitting of the wood.   It is thought the phrase “bottom out” came from the deterioration of this section of the boat.  Of course, God began working on my with this concept.

If you stop to think about it, the parable of the seeds talks about the different types of soil of our hearts.  Similarly, we can use the above reference to describe the types of believers there are in the world, using a very broad stroke of the brush.

The Top (Above Water)

These could be characterized as the doers, the ones who are seen throughout the church living on mission.  They enjoy their activities, but truthfully, there is not a lot of depth to them.  They can give you the great Christian cliches like, “God will never bring you to it unless he can bring you through it.” Or, “we are saved by grace.” Or better, “I’m blessed, thanks for asking.”  Now, all of these are true statements, but you know the type I’m talking about.  There’s no depth!  They like their masks and their activities, but at the end of the day, they’re just not getting it.

The Bottom (Below Water)

Have you ever met a believer that was so in tune with God’s word they simply just wowed everyone they spoke with.  I’m not talking about those who can quote the entire book of Romans from memory, but rather, those who seek and find God in every little circumstance in life.  The more you get to know them, the peace and understanding they have is a direct result of the amount of time they spend in the throne room of God, face down.

I once knew a guy like this.  He was younger than me but man he showed me up.  He was forever in the Word or just being still before God.  It was more like a habit for him versus a scheduled appointment.  Anyway, he had some of the most profound one liners that you could tell you had just been smacked by the Holy Spirit.

One example was a time when he and I were running late for a meeting.  We had to go up two flights of stairs and I had decided I was going to take two at a time to his one right after the other approach.  I got to the top before he did and through my panting told him to hurry up.  He told me,

“You know, sometimes God wants us to just take one step at a time and trust him, rather than rushing to get to the top.  If you think about it, we both got to the top, but your short cut would up hurting you in the end.”

With that he just walked away!  Yeah, I’m sitting there completely floored by such a statement, and he thinks nothing of it.  What was the best part about his statement was that it was an answer to a question I had asked God in prayer the night before.  This guy was so entrenched with the Word and walking so closely with God, he was used daily without even knowing it.  Now that’s a deep hull!

Where it Cracks

The part of the ship where it cracks is a result of going in and out of two different environments is a lot like those of us who tend to bounce between the two worlds.  One minute they’re completely immersed in God’s word, walking closely with him and the next minute they’re just doing church.  There are numerous verses referring to the dangerous effects of swaying back and forth.

Ephesians 4:14 “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

If you find yourself in this predicament, be careful of the warnings from Scripture.  Dig deeper into God’s word and surround yourself more with people who are deep versus those who just like to seem like they are.  The truth is, the bible is clear about its sanctifying nature and it will expose the cracks in your life.  It is not to be seen as a negative thing because God tells us He desires us to be in close union with him.

So, chances are if you’re reading this you consider yourself to be a Christian, the question is which part of the boat are you on?

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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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Christian Dads-What Legacy are you Leaving?

January 22, 2012

Some of the best movies always have some aspect of the plot centered around the father-son/daughter theme.  Think about it, here are some examples: Star Wars, Tron Legacy, Green Lantern, Lion King, and many more.  All of these have a deep rooted character who is seeking either a relationship with their father, trying to find their father, trying to impress their father and the list could go on.  This just highlights one simple, basic principle: a father’s influence over their child is critical, needed, and desired by children, no matter their age.

I believe one of the most important thoughts that should be on the forefront of any father’s mind should be their relationship with Christ, followed quickly by the legacy he will leave with his children.  If you take a minute to think back, chances are, you will find yourself doing things your father did.  I know I will often find myself saying something to one of my kids and thinking inside, “I sound just like my father.”  It’s not always a bad thing, but there are some things, as Christian men, we need to break.

It struck me while listening to a sermon on  Jacob and Isaac that the “sins of the father” has a definite theme based in Genesis.  Many of us will look at the deceiving of Isaac by Jacob with disdain, but where would a child learn something like that?  If you go back to the previous chapters in Genesis, you will see the practice of lying has deeper roots.  His father and grandfather both had lied to Abimelech.  Sure, these were great men of God and even they had their moments of weakness, not trusting God wholly that he would protect their family.  Jacob was simply following in the generational footsteps.  Jacob continued this tradition, leaning more on his own strength and understanding than that of God.  If you continue to read through Jacob’s story, you will find the deceit continuing when his sons sell their brother into slavery.  When will the cycle stop?

Joseph was cut from a different fabric.  Time and time again throughout his life, he was given the opportunity to be deceitful, self-reliant, but he fled from them and clung to God.  In one instance, he fled so quickly he fled naked from a sin he could have easily given in to.  Through his continued focus on God, Joseph was able to be saved from many situations, and was even used to save his family.  This is what God can do with simple obedience, he can break the sinful patterns of our fathers.

What is it in your life that you are passing on to your son or daughter?  This is a critical questions that if you have not already taken some time to think about, you MUST.  Do you have an anger issue?  If so, you can pretty well bet your child will struggle with the same.  Do you often lie to win people’s affection or affirmation?  If so, you will pass this curse on to your children.  This can only be done by submitting to Christ and letting him mold you to the father he needs you to be, no only for your sake, but also for that of generations to follow you.

Joseph’s obedience was used to break the generational cycle and saved a nation.  Take a moment to think about all of the issues we face as fathers and the issues our children will face in their times.  Just think of how willing God is to transform our families and our nation.  You never know what your obedience to him may spark in your family and ultimately, many generations down the road, in our nation.  Pray, focus, and submit.  Your children are dependent upon that!
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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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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.

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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.

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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: , .

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Circumcision Part II

September 3, 2009

We are continuing our conversation on men’s favorite subject: Circumcision.  (Please understand the sarcasm there!)  Paul, in Romans 2:25-29, deals a lot with circumcision.   Let’s look at Paul’s take on this subject.

25 Circumcision does indeed profit if you keep the Law; but if you habitually transgress the Law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision.  26 So if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be credited to him as [equivalent to] circumcision? 27 Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the Law will condemn you who, although you have the code in writing and have circumcision, break the Law.  29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and [true] circumcision is of the heart, a spiritual and not a literal [matter]. His praise is not from men but from God.

98844[1]The Jews boasted in this sign of their covenant with God.  They acknowledge God’s covenant with them, but did not honor it with their actions.   Interestingly, uncircumcision is defined as the equivalent of being a Gentile (which greatly offended most Jews most likely).  Uncircumcision is also described as a condition in which the corrupt desires rooted in the flesh were not yet extinct.  Paul is addressing those who “appear” to be Christians, yet their lives still show a lot of “fleshy” desires.

Matthew Henry puts it this way: “And restest in the law; that is, they took a pride in this, that they had the law among them, had it in their books, read it in their synagogues. They were mightily puffed up with this privilege, and thought this enough to bring them to heaven, though they did not live, up to the law. To rest in the law, with a rest of complacency and acquiescence, is good; but to rest in it with a rest of pride, and slothfulness, and carnal security, is the ruin of souls.”

Here he describes what true circumcision is, it is not only an outward sign, but an inward transformation.  You can be baptized, but if your life does not show the redemption and transformation, it is as useful as being a circumcised Jew who lives the most evil of lives.  Again, a favorite quote of mine is from DC Talk in their song What if I Stumble!

The leading cause of atheism today  is Christians who acknowledge Christ with their lips, but deny Him with their actions.

William Newell summarizes Romans 2 with “Seven Great Principles of God’s Judgment” that are worth noting:

  1. God’s judgment is according to truth (Romans 2:2)
  2. God’s judgment is according to accumulated guilt (Romans 2:5)
  3. God’s judgment is according to works (Romans 2:6)
  4. God’s judgment is without partiality (Romans 2:11)
  5. God’s judgment is according to performance, not knowledge (Romans 2:13)
  6. God’s judgment reaches the secrets of the heart (Romans 2:16)
  7. God’s judgment is according to reality, not religious profession (Romans 2:17-29)

In the next post, we will bring this topic home, not literally of course.  I hope you’ll join me in the next post: Circumcising the Heart.

If you liked this post, please read the previous post and the sequel to this one!

A Difficult Study for Men: Circumcision

Circumcising the Heart!

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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