Dealing with Doubts

I loved this chapter.

I go through life trying to be “uber-prepared” for any situation. Admittedly, I’m not always 100% ready and I wind up making choices; you’ve heard me give my analogy about juggling glass balls and rubber balls? The balls represent our choices, our commitments, our tasks. You can drop the rubber balls because they will bounce back. But you can’t drop the glass balls because they will shatter on the ground.

This week in Chapter 6 of our study the author talks about individuals who’ve stepped away from Christianity; he calls it “deconstruction”, meaning they’ve pulled apart the holistic view of Christianity and allowed for the critiquing of segments. Like me, you may (or might have) find yourself in situations having to defend your Christian beliefs. And maybe in doing so, you begin to have your own doubts.

“That’s okay to have these doubts” says our author. Whereas some might consider these doubts a negative, these situations are closely related to “faith”, something this chapter points out that we deal with every single day:

“When you get into a car, faith that you’ll get to your destination alive. When you eat an apple from your refrigerator, you have faith that it won’t hurt you. When you agree to surgery, you have faith that the surgeon hasn’t misrepresented their expertise and will do the work to the best of their ability. But in none of these cases, do you have certainty.”

David Parker

It’s okay to have doubts.

David Parker leads us this week. Please join us in person in SouthPark or use the audio from the Zoom invite. See you on Friday!


Tacos in Madrid?

I’ve been driving my wife absolutely crazy this past week….which is typically not anything new. But this week is especially a “gem”! We’re preparing to chaperone a little over 30 high schoolers from the church on a 10-day trip to Portugal and Spain. For 7 of those days, we’ll navigate 75 miles on the famous Camino Trail!

Back to my point about driving her crazy. I’ve mentioned more than once that I “can’t wait to eat tacos in Spain”….to which she rolls her eyes and reminds me that “tacos” come from Mexico and NOT Spain. That was just enough leverage for me to continue to drop comments all week long about “tacos in Madrid”!

As a reminder, our men’s group will continue to meet even in my absence the next two Fridays. It’s been hugely rewarding to see many of you in person in South Park….we’ll continue to have Robert’s office available, so I’d encourage you to meet there if you’re comfortable and your schedule allows. We’ll continue to provide an audio option over Zoom as well.

Luke will lead this coming Friday and Mark will lead the next Friday; chapters 3 and 4, respectively. Continue to have healthy discussions once those leaders get the “ball in play”!

I will be with you in spirit. And I’d appreciate your prayers for the group’s safe travels, open hearts, and a fully rewarding experience.

Peace, guys!

New Study Series Starts This Week

Excited to begin a new series this week. We’ve selected the book, “Faithfully Different” by Natasha Crain, for our next 12 weeks of reading and discussions. I’ve gone ahead and tasked out each week’s leader who will be responsible for “putting and keeping the ball in play”. Since we have more than 12 men in our group, not everyone was tasked. If you are tasked and you cannot lead on your day, please find someone to take your place.

1JUN 3Mike L
2JUN 10Jon P
3JUN 17Luke N
4JUN 24Mark J
5JUL 1Robert S
6JUL 8Jason S
7JUL 15Tim S
8JUL 22Jonathan S
9JUL 29Dave B
10AUG 5David P
11AUG 12Ernie M
12AUG 19Phillip D

We will continue to meet on Friday mornings and we’re asking all to strongly consider meeting in person at the SouthPark location. We will keep Zoom as an option for those who have challenges meeting in person. But, please, consider meeting in person. The bonds of our men’s fellowship are best strengthened when we sit across tables from each other, engage in conversations before/after, and let God guide our weekly accountability.

I’m looking forward to this new series….and I look forward to seeing you this week! I’ll kick the new series off at 7:45 am ET.


Resurrection’s Over…Now What?

It seems like we cruise right from the Easter story immediately into Christ’s ascension into Heaven without much thought or study into “everyone else”. I have often wondered about the 12 disciples… only 11 with the death of Judas. Were they hunted? Were they faithful? How did we get from “then” to “now” as Christians.

I’m one week late as we started this new series called “My Favorite Disciple” last Friday with Rob Miller sharing his thoughts on the apostle Peter. I’ve asked four others from our group to likewise follow suit, sharing their thoughts on their favorite disciple. Here’s the current plan:

APR 29TH: John (Luke Nelson)

MAY 6TH: TBD (Jason Schubert)

MAY 13TH: Thomas (Jon Paschal)

MAY 20TH: Judas (Mike Lenhart)

Gathering times will remain the same each week. 7:30 am for fellowship with lessons kicking off at 7:45 am. Meet over Zoom or in-person at our South Park location.

No formal homework required but you are encouraged to do some self-study each week on the individual disciples to make the conversations even more engaging!


Putting the Bow on Another Great Study Series

We’ll wrap up the study of Governor Bill Haslam’s book, “Faithful Presence”. This week, please read Chapter 14 as well as the Epilogue. Haslam does a great summary of the book this week, calling out the major themes of text including:

-Salt and Light

-Religion driving your politics or politics driving your religion?

My favorite passage this week comes on page 198:

“Our response to a world that seems to be slipping out of control has too frequently been to enter the public square out of anger and with our focus on winning. Because of that, we have added contempt and division into that arena rather than helping to heal it. But God always starts with us when he talks about change. Again, if the meat has gone bad, it is the fault of the salt, not the meat. Those of us who call ourselves Christians now have the privilege and the responsibility of being God’s ambassadors to a world that is weary and desperate for good news. There really isn’t a plan B when it comes to God’s plan for how the earth gets salt.”

We’re gathering in fellowship this Friday at 7:30 am at The Flying Biscuit at Park Road Shopping Center. I hope to see many of you there as we anticipate the beginning of another Holy Week.

Have a great week!


Why It Matters

Two weeks left on the current book series. This week, we’ll focus on Chapter 13 and a few examples of other people’s lives in the public square; how their efforts “mattered”. Names include:

  • Harriet Tubman
  • William Wilberforce
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • George W. Bush
  • “Reasonable people” in reasonable places

Another easy read this week and you’re welcome to look ahead to next week’s assignment: Chapter 14 and the Epilogue

Speaking of next week. We’ll gather for breakfast at a location to be determined to wrap up the book series and have some fellowship before the start of Holy Week.

Mike Lenhart

We won’t meet on Good Friday and after that, we’re going to do a quick 5-week study I’m calling “My Favorite Disciples”. I’ve asked a handful of individuals from our group to prepare one Friday over that 5-week span and share their thoughts on “their favorite disciple”. Some might reference the book, “Twelve Ordinary Men”, a study we’ve done a couple times. But more importantly, when we exit Holy Week and the celebration of the Resurrection, I want us to think about what was going on for the disciples. They were scattered, hunted, and full of doubts. How did they ever get it together?

The schedule for the next few weeks is posted on the SignUp Genius (click on image below):

Anyway, that’s looking ahead.

Dig into Chapter 13 this week and I look forward to leading the discussion on Friday. Have a great rest of the week. We’re meeting over Zoom or in-person at South Park.


Politics as a Calling

We’re getting close to “breaking the tape” on another study series. This week, we tackle chapter 11 “My Life in the Arena”….leaving just three more chapters after this week! Our author discusses very specifically his path from considering a life in ministry, to (instead) falling into the family business…and eventually dipping his toes into the political waters in Knoxville (as mayor) and the state (as governor).

Haslam will explain how EVERYTHING was planned out perfectly as he wanted it to be…….NOT!

Luke Nelson

As we’ve heard time and time again, the Governor looks back on his career in politics and can artfully trace God’s hand in all the key decisions.

Join us this Friday as Luke Nelson leads the discussions. Join via Zoom or at the South Park location. 7:30 am ET start. 7:45 am ET kickoff to the lesson.

Have a great rest of the week!


“Hey Governor, Why Did You Veto the Bible?”

This week’s topic is one that’s been around for as long as I can remember: separation between Church and State (Chapter 9 of our book). As the story goes, Governor Haslam was visiting a Tennessee farmers’ market and had taken time to purchase local fruits and vegetables, as his wife had instructed him to do. (He must be a smart man by listening to his wife’s wisdom!) An elderly man was patiently waiting his turn to speak to the Governor. When the man finally got to Haslam, he simply asked, “So, why did you veto the Bible?”, referencing a recent reversal of legislation by the Tennessee state house making the Bible the official state book.

Haslam outlines how our founding fathers established the First Amendment as a way that no preference would ever be given by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship. So, when the legislators created the Bible as Tennessee’s official book, they did not specify it for it’s religious significance; rather, as one with historic and economic significance.

I’m sure the press only shared one side of the story but Haslam’s explanation in his veto letter speaks about our nation’s ongoing struggle of the separation between church and state. He writes:

“If we believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, then we shouldn’t be recognizing it as only a book of historical and economic significance. (And) if we are recognizing the Bible as a sacred text, then we are violating the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Tennessee by designating it as the official state book.”

Mike Lenhart

Join me this week as I’ll lead our discussions around this topic. We have Zoom option or we’re back to gather in-person in South Park. I’ll kick things off at 7:30 am in fellowship and will open up on discussion at 7:45 am.


Who Would You Follow?

Chapter 7 of our book this week begs the question of “who are the best leaders?” Ruthless leaders like General Patton or Emperor Caesar? Or passionate, thoughtful leaders like President Lincoln or Philosopher Socrates?

Ernie Meland

We’ve probably all thought that in this time and age, any politician or leaders who’s soft-spoken will get run over in a heartbeat. I mean, don’t really really want a leader who says “charge that hill” and bounds up in front before we think otherwise.

Ernie Meland leads us this week. And I finally am back to sending out reminders! Work schedule is finally starting to lighten up……for now, at least!

Gather at 7:30 am over Zoom. Ernie will kicks things off at 7:45 am.


Even a Pancake Has Two Sides

Hungry yet?

I’m curious about breakfast. How many of you prefer your eggs made “sunny side up”? Meaning, only one side of the egg is cooked. If you do, then maybe this week’s chapter is not for you!

This week, we’re discussing Chapter 2 of our series, “Faithful Presence”. The chapter is titled “What is Happening Now?” Our author paints the picture of the need to listen to both sides of an argument before making a decision. One of my favorite messages that I’ve highlighted this week is on pages 18-19:

“If my goal is to solve a problem, and get to the best answer, I found there are two keys: first, an awareness that my answer might not be the best answer; and second, a commitment to hear the other side of the argument.”

Have you ever eaten a pancake that is only cooked on one side?

Rob Miller

Rob Miller leads this week and will help paint the chapter’s lesson from all sides. Reminder, also, that Rob will spend a few minutes on our planned retreat later this month.

We’re continuing all Zoom for the rest of this month so grab your coffee and dial in starting at 7:30 am ET. We’ll tackle the lesson starting at 7:45 am.