Posts Tagged ‘Christian perspectives’

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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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Change Agent-From the Inside Out

May 8, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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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 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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A Difficult Study for Men: Circumcision

August 29, 2009

scaredmanLet’s face it, if you are a part of a men’s Bible Study, the last subject you would expect to have would be one on circumcision.  Unfortunately, when covering a book in the Bible in sequential order, you have to discuss some topics you would normally just skip over.  If you cover any of the epistles, chances are, you will come across the great debate of the time, “circumcision vs. no circumcision.”

Just some information on circumcision for you to consider before we get started.

In Paul’s day, some Rabbis taught that Abraham sat at the entrance of Hell and made certain that none of his circumcised descendants went there. Some Rabbis also taught “God will judge the Gentiles with one measure and the Jews with another” and “All Israelites will have part in the world to come.”  I recently read that circumcision and baptism do about the same thing that a label on a can does. If the outer label doesn’t match with what is on the inside, something is wrong! If there are carrots inside the can, you can put a label says “Peas” but it doesn’t change what is inside the can. Being born again changes what is inside the can, and then you can put the appropriate label on the outside.

So where is the beginning of Circumcision?  Let’s start in Genesis 17:10-14.

10 This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your posterity after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.11 And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a token or sign of the covenant (the promise or pledge) between Me and you.12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male throughout your generations, whether born in [your] house or bought with [your] money from any foreigner not of your offspring.13 He that is born in your house and he that is bought with your money must be circumcised; and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.14 And the male who is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.

This particular passage marks a change and the fathering of the Jewish nation.  God sets apart his people with this covenant through Abraham.

Notice that it is a token or a sign of the covenant, much like a wedding ring or fraternity tattoo.  It marks we are.  The covenant is in the flesh, an everlasting covenant.  God made it known that now part of our bodies is outside of this covenant.   It is no irony that the covenant was made with this particular part of the male body symbolizing a new birth or the birth of a new nation.  Most covenants have something you have to give, it may hurt, this definitely meets the bill on this.

In the English and Romance languages the derivation of the word ‘male’ and ‘masculine’ is derived from the Latin ‘mas’, a root meaning heavy or the strong one, whereas the Hebrew word for male is zachar, which has the same root letters as ‘to remember’.  We are to “remember” our covenant with Christ.

As men, especially today, I think there are a lot of things we need to “remember.”   We will continue this discussion by picking up Paul’s take on the whole subject.  Romans 2:25-29 deals a lot with circumcision.   We will discuss this in the next post : Circumcision Part II.  Hope you will join us for that discussion.

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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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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