Did you catch that catchy question in this week’s devotional readings? Lots of great nuggets, as Rob Miller would say….but that little piece explained on Day 9, certainly caught my attention today.
Our devotional readings this week are Days 7 through Day 12. You’ll breeze through them in under 15 minutes….but then set the book down, and pick it back up a few hours later and read them again. Jott down what nuggets speak to you!
Mark Joyce will lead us this week! Very excited to hear Mark on Friday….and grateful he’s stepping up for the first time to lead our group! (Wink, Wink….no pressure on the rest of you to lead soon as well!) And hopefully Mark will include his thoughts on “program versus person”!
Same Zoom invite as before. Please gather at 7:30 am ET. Mark will introduce this week’s lesson at 7:45 am ET.
Happy post-Easter, gentlemen! I hope everyone enjoyed a brief break over the holiday and Spring Break. This week “begins anew”….a new series and a journey of 90 days of devotionals.
We’ll begin tomorrow, Friday, with the first six devotions of our book, “No More Excuses” by Tony Evans. If you haven’t ordered the book yet, please do that in the next day or so. (See my previous post on this site for the Amazon link to the book.) And plan to join us on Friday regardless if you’ve gotten the book, haven’t read the assigned devotions this week….or even both!
The scripture reading for the first six are as follows:
1 John 1:9
Also, if you have the book, read the author’s introduction section where he lays out a sports-minded theme, referencing the term “loser’s limp”. Think about the outfielder or wide receiver who misses the catch, stumbles down, but gets up limping as if to blame the error on a pulled hamstring.
“Not so fast” says our author!
As you prepare for the 90-days journey ahead, ask yourself are you blaming a fake injury on losing focus to God’s teachings….do you have a “loser’s limp”? I know at times I certainly do….and this next 90 days is all about developing some muscle memory so we no long use a false injury to mask what’s really causing us to lose focus.
Zoom invites are the same as before. I look forward to seeing you virtually in the morning and kicking off our new series.
Men….it’s now Wednesday of Holy Week. Is this the calm before the storm of the last few days: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday…. leading us up to Sunday’s Easter Celebration?
Let’s quickly review the events so far.
Last Sunday, “Palm Sunday”, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. He is once again the unassuming King even though the fanfare seems equal to others coming from more traditional royalty. Jesus is reaching rock star status!
Next on Monday, Jesus drives the money changers out of the temple. Famously, the Bible says He chased out the others from the temple saying, “My house will be a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers.” Some accounts of Monday describe Jesus as angry, driving out the sellers with a whip.
On Tuesday, Judas is approached by the chief priests where he agrees to betray Jesus. An agreement is reached, money exchanged, and Judas waits for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowds might be present.
Now….we’ve reached Wednesday. Nothing happened on Wednesday, right?
Wait a minute. This is one of the most famous weeks in the Bible and you mean to tell me nothing happened on one of the days? Were the Biblical scribes of the time asleep on Wednesday? Did something happen, and the records just get lost?
I suppose the answer is up for interpretation.
Consider this as you ponder some other messages in the events leading up to the Resurrection. Maybe, Jesus and his followers were simply exhausted. It had been a very busy last couple of days. Parades in Jerusalem. Getting a little postal on the merchants in the temple. Perhaps it’s not a far stretch to believe that the human emotions of needing rest consumed Jesus.
Human. Sometimes we get lost in the fact that Jesus walked this earth as a human. He experienced emotions, highs and lows, anger and joy. He probably got sick every now and then too.
Maybe, too, Jesus, the “human”, was having some doubts about what he was supposed to do in order to fulfill our Father’s promise: Sending His only son to wipe away our sins. If you knew your death was quickly approaching, wouldn’t you take a day to “stay under the radar”?
Admittedly, I have many days where I have doubts in God’s promise to us. We live in a broken world and that creates many broken people. I’m no different. We know what’s promised at the end….but yet, we ignore that message.
This year, as you celebrate the Resurrection story, give some thought to the calm that occurred in the middle of the week. Jesus takes a pause, briefly, to collect his thoughts. Here’s the good news, however. Like many of us, Jesus was perhaps at a crossroad. He chose to fulfill his Father’s promise. And we are all forgiven as a result of that decision. How hard can it be for us to pick up our own crosses in daily life with a more dedicated focus on God’s promise?
My prayer this week as we take a “break” from a Friday gathering is not only for the blessings of this Easter season, but also that we remember Jesus walked among us as “human”, knows any possible situation we might experience, and yet died for our sins that we might enjoy everlasting life.
It’s okay to have doubts. It’s God’s way of calling attention to times when you need to “pause” and allow time to reflect.
Next week, we’ll gather and begin a new study. After considering many of your inputs, I’m going to recommend we follow Robert Shaw’s suggestion of digging into some weekly devotionals. To that end, I’d like for us to go on a 90-day journey of devotionals. Each week, we’ll read the seven devotionals in the book below…..Saturday after our weekly gathering through the next Friday’s planned gathering. And each week, I’d ask that one person from the group plans to lead the lesson on that Friday.
And it’s a clean white page every week. When it’s your turn to lead, you can cover all seven devotions, a handful, or simply one that spoke to you.
Simple stuff….and I know we’re up to the task.
90 days. That’s my commitment I’m asking each of you to join me on starting Friday….April 9th.
Focus this week is all about “fellowship”. In that regard, I’m sharing two events worth noting for our group.
First, Myers Park Presbyterian Church is conducting a quarterly Men’s Fellowship Breakfast (virtually) this Thursday, March 25th at 8 am – 9 am ET. Register ahead of time. Speaker is REV. Scott Black Johnson, from Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in NYC. I’m sharing because the topic seems to align nicely with our most recent book study.
Second event is at my home on Friday…..aka “The Compound”. This is a drop-in fellowship gathering in the backyard treehouse. Please come anytime between 7:45 am – 8:30 am ET. I’ll have coffee, biscuits, etc. Am also extending invitation out to a few of our recent speakers to drop by as well. Address is in your calendar invite. Call or text me if you don’t see that.
We’re nearly at the end of our Lenten journey, with Easter just around the corner. Reminder that we won’t meet next Friday. After this week, we’ll kick off the new series on Friday, April 9th.
Have a great week! Hope to see you at one or both events mentioned above!
Very excited to share another one of my friends this week for our brief speaker series. If you only knew Eric Reeves, Director of Golf for Myers Park Country Club, for his “golf prowess”…then you’d be missing out on so much more. In golfing terms, you’d be double-bogeying every hole on the back nine, and you’d certainly “miss the cut”.
Here’s a brief glimpse of his bio:
Eric was born and raised in Macon, Georgia. He grew up playing sports and fell in love with the game of golf at the age of 14. He attended Mercer University on a golf scholarship where he met his wife, Kristen, of 15 years. They have four daughters: Emma (13), Olivia (11), Ella (9), and Madilyn (7).
After college, Eric began his career as a golf professional and has served as the Director of Golf at Myers Park Country Club since June of 2017.
Prior to coming to Myers Park Country Club, Eric was the Head Golf Professional at the Capital City Club – Brookhaven Course in Atlanta, GA for three years. Preceding his tenure at Brookhaven, Eric was the Lead Assistant under Andrew Shuck at Charlotte Country Club from 2012 through 2014. From 2005 to 2012, Eric worked at Healy Point Country Club in Macon, Georgia where he served as Head Golf Professional for five years.
Eric is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, GA where he was an All-American Golfer. During his professional career, he received numerous awards including Assistant Golf Professional of the Year, Assistant Player of the Year, Merchandiser of the Year, and served on the Georgia PGA Section Board.
Please join over Zoom beginning at 7:30 am ET. I’ll open us up at 7:45 am with a word of prayer, then will introduce this week’s guest speaker!
Feature image copyright Edifice General Contractors
We’re in-between series and again I’m excited to share a couple excellent individuals who will reveal their faith stories with our group.
Eric Reeves will join us NEXT WEEK, so more on him early next week.
THIS WEEK, my good friend, Josh Jones, will share his testimony. Some of you might know Josh as co-owner of Jones & Hedges Custom Home Builders. Others may know him as one of the top fund raisers for the annual 24 Hours of Booty event right here in Charlotte (Myers Park).
Josh and I are frequent running partners….and you learn a lot about someone, especially on those dark mornings, where there are few runners, the cold rain is coming down…and you really just want to “get through it” as quickly as possible so you can get home and take a warm shower. I’ve had a couple mornings with Josh that fit that scenario…with one exception: talking to Josh, hearing his subtle testimony on a run…and you won’t want the run to end. I’m honored to “share” my friend Josh with our men’s group this week. His story is a tear-jerker, as he’ll share the heartbreak of losing their 3-year old daughter, Libby, to leukemia in 2014. His story is also a triumph recognizing God’s plan in all of this….and how he’s continues Libby’s legacy by raising thousands of dollars annually in her honor.
In full transparency, I fell two times during early morning runs in 2019…and both of those times were when I was running alone, just Josh and me! I promise he didn’t push me, however! I just wasn’t watching where I was running on those particular days….I was intently listening to Josh!
Please gather starting at 7:30 am ET over Zoom. You will be receiving the 2021 Zoom recurring meeting series invite later this week. Josh will speak to the group starting at 7:45 am ET.
When it comes to arguments, Dale Carnegie once wrote:
“You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it.”
Dale Carnegie, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”
This Friday we wrap up another study series, specifically by reading the final chapter of the book, entitled, “Please Disagree with Me“. As I read the chapter this week, I was filled with a mixture of emotions….and certainly recalled some stories that I’ll share this Friday. (NOTE: Bonus points if you read the Conclusion section of the book…but I’m not expecting us to cover that this Friday.)
If, like me, when you’re reading the chapter, you might question our author’s point when attempts to sway us away from this concept of “winner and losers”. We can’t have a Super Bowl, where both teams get the Lombardi trophy at the end right? We can’t have celebratory viral videos of both Tom Brady AND Patrick Mahomes tossing their respective trophies from one group of drunken pontoon boat party goers to another!
By the end of the chapter, I’m more inclined to believe “football”, with its many parallels to everyday life, in fully unparrel when it comes to finding the “messy middle ground” of cultural disagreements.
That doesn’t mean I won’t cheer for Brady and Mahomes…..certainly I will do that. But when it comes to the toxic nature of much of our culture today….I might follow a (new) different way of thinking.
And, if you don’t agree with any of that…..then this chapter is for you….and for me….and for our discussion this Friday!
So….please disagree with me. And let’s talk it out on Friday.
GEN Douglas MacArthur has a famous quote that I believe relates to this week’s chapter, especially about the importance of “competition”:
“Upon the fields of friendly strife on sown the seeds that on other days, on other fields, shall bear the fruits of victory….”
GEN Douglas MacArthur
McArthur’s quote is required knowledge for cadets at West Point, and is memorized during the first few weeks of Cadet Basic Training prior to even beginning the academic year as freshmen. (Just ask Jon Paschal or me this week…I bet we can STILL say it verbatim, 30 years later!) In layman’s terms, the lessons and experiences that athletes take away from competition will likely lead to more competence and confidence in battle and therefore, victory.
Our author discusses “competition, why it’s important, yet under the context of “healthy” competition: Chapter 7: Is Competition Our Problem?
Fair warning, this week’s lesson from Brooks does not favor the side of “everyone gets a participation trophy”! But if you are in the camp that believes in the merits of recognizing everyone….then bring your thoughts…and we’ll discuss….in friendly competition!
Speaking of Jon Paschal….he leads us this Friday. Please gather over Zoom starting at 7:30 am ET. Lesson starts at 7:45 am ET!
When you read this week’s homework, Chapter 6 “Tell Me A Story”, you’ll recognize the title in this week’s reminder as the results of Ernest Hemingway’s bet with a friend that he could tell an entire story in six words…..
As I read through the chapter, it occured to me that this week’s theme is really common sense….but something we rarely put into application. Telling “stories”, our author explains, is the key to connecting with other people. He even cites some chemicals in our bodies / brains that respond to stories better than just simple facts and numbers.
I’ll break it all down for you this Friday….but in the meantime, what’s your story? How would you describe yourself, maybe not in just six words (like Hemingway). Rather…could you come to our gathering this Friday ready to share your story…maybe in 12 words or less? That’s my challenge to you……
What’s mine? That’s easy….
“Complicatedly simple, time is ticking, thoroughly used up.”
I’m curious to hear from any of the guys this week if you ever participated in Speed Dating as a single man. I did not…but knew of people who did. Mixed responses from those guys…..as for me, I tended to go off “referrals” from good friends back when I was single.
The opening pages of this week’s assignment, Chapter 5: The Power and Peril of Identity, had me wondering if the tendencies explained by our author likewise play out in speed dating. In other words, do “strangers” listen to what each other is saying during the lightening rounds of short discussions, or does it really come down to immediate common attributes like demographics, education, and job.
This week, Brooks talks about drifting away from what he refers to as our identity to some, and recommends finding unity by seeing people first and foremost.
Luke leads us this week and will navigate us through the challenges of “identity”.
Gather over Zoom at 7:30 am ET. Lesson starts at 7:45 am.