Staying WHERE you are means staying WHO you are….

Chapter 5 this week is titled “Refuse to Stay Behind”.

I thought, initially, about a phrase from the Army’s Ranger Creed:

“…Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country…”

US Army Ranger Creed

Our country’s military has made it a mantra, not just within the Rangers, but we will never leave another member of our force “behind”…

But McManus this week is talking about something completely different. Although the battle analogies might be similar, our author is instead talking about those who choose to “stay behind” rather than go outside our comfort zone; go to an area where God might be calling us to go.

There’s several great quotes from the chapter…but I really felt called to the one I’ve paraphrased in the title above:

“When you stay where you are, you stay who you are…”

Among other lessons, this quote speaks to us about “growth”. What are we doing in our Christian walk….to grow each and every day, week, and beyond? And “growth” ain’t always easy. In fact, rarely does it come without some pain, questions, or doubt.

Every week, I’ve shared a 5 minute video primer of that particular week’s chapter. And I’ll share it over our Zoom meeting on Friday. This week, I’m going to give you two videos; the primer, below, and beneath that, a sermon given by McManus that likewise covers most of the key points from Chapter 5.

Chapter 5 “Refuse to Stay Behind” video primer
McManus gives sermon on “Refusing to Stay Behind” (Chapter 5)

So, you can read Chapter 5 or you can just watch the second video (about 35 minutes). The great thing about the 35 min sermon is that you’ll really get a sense of McManus’ passion. Really. It’s worth the watch! But you can’t underline sentences or write in the margins on the pages….so maybe do both!

Mike Lenhart

I’m excited to lead this week. I have some personal passion about his week’s chapter, as I’m sure some of you do as well. Looking forward to sharing my thoughts and hearing yours.

Same Zoom invite as last week. Let’s gather starting at 7:30 am; I’ll open us in prayer at 7:45 am, then onto our lesson.

Have a great rest of the week until Friday morning!

Come on Baby….Light My Fire!

My apologies.

After reading this week’s title, you’ll have that song ringing in your head for a few hours! Sorry!

The title of this week’s homework is “Set Your Past on Fire”….. and our author shares some literal and figurative examples of people setting “things” on fire.

We’ve been talking about leaving the past behind; focusing on the future, right? Now, McManus gets very direct about “why” we need to do that.

“This chapter is all about burning away everything that should remain in your past and not taken into your future.” (McManus, p. 46)

Did you catch the subtle message, however? “….everything that should remain in your past…”

Ernie Meland

Does this mean there are (sometimes) items we should take to the future?

Ernie Meland leads us this week and maybe he’ll answer that question for us. Not to sound like a broken record but you all know the drill: Gather at 7:30 am ET….Ernie kicks things into gear around 7:45 am ET. Your calendar invites have the Zoom information.

We’ll play the video “teaser” in the morning, but if you want to watch it now, here it is below.

Chapter 4: Set Your Past on Fire

See you in the morning.

Peace!

Crooked Farming!

This week’s reading assignment is Chapter 3 of our book, The Last Arrow by Erwin McManus. The chapter title is “choose the future” and our author preaches mainly about focusing on the past, focusing on the present, or focusing on the future. Which is the best for us….one of those categories or some combination of all three?

Jason Schubert

Honestly, I feel like I’ve been playing “catch up” all week. Work has been crazy busy, and I’ve always got a lot going on with two “active” teenage boys! So…I guess I’m guilty of only focusing on the “present” and a little bit of the “past”. But when you read the chapter, you’ll see what the author suggests. I won’t give that mystery away, but Jason Schubert leads us this week…and I’m certain he’ll cover all that.

One nugget that stood out to me comes early in the chapter when McManus shares one of my favorite analogies from Jesus:

“No on who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God”

Luke 9:62

Here’s the video preview for Chapter 3:

Chapter 3: Choose the Future

Looking forward to catching up with everyone tomorrow. Our participation has been growing….and I’m thankful for that! Same Zoom information at before. Check your calendar invites or reach out to me for details. Please gather at 7:30 am ET and Jason will start promptly at 7:45 am ET.

You’re Either Busy Living or Busy Dying!

That comment….”you’re either busy living or busy dying” was shared with me by a dear friend of mine in Atlanta.  She was an ER doctor at Grady Memorial Hospital, which if you’re from Atlanta, you know is known as a huge trauma center in the southeast.  It’s been said that if you had gunshot wounds or were in a terrible car accident, and you ended up at Grady, then you were in good hands.

It was not uncommon for my friend to work long, 60-hour work weeks at Grady.  And when she wasn’t working, it was hard to find her.  She’d be training for an Ironman triathlon, or working at a free women’s clinic, or even traveling to Africa with Doctors Without Borders.  I really loved spending time with her, but I admitted one day that “the things I love most about you, are also the things I hate.”  You see, those amazing things she was doing outside of the work, were also taking her away from me.

So what how did she respond?  That’s where I heard the “busy living or busy dying” phrase, which I learned later on came from the movie Shawshank Redemption, where two convicts are talking about breaking out of jail.  My friend taught me that life is worth “living” … and there’s no time to wait around, pondering about “dying”.

This week’s assignment is to read Chapter 2 of our book, The Last Arrow, where our author touches on that same subject.  John Ramey leads us this week.  The chapter is an easy read….but remember even if you don’t have time to read, still come to the Zoom meeting!  You’ll always get something out of the time together.

Same Zoom invite as last week.  Hit me up if you need that information, otherwise check your email calendar invite.

See you at 7:30 am ET on Friday!

Here’s this week’s chapter video primer from Erwin McManus:

Peace!

 

New Series Begins: The Point of No Return

After a brief week “off”, Starting Friday returns this week as we kick-off a new series: The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life by Erwin McManus.

Hopefully, you’ve either ordered the book or the digital version already.  This week’s homework is to read the Preface and Chapter 1 (The Point of No Return).

Each week, we’ll also introduce the lesson with a brief 5-minute video from the author.  This week’s video is shown below and I’ll also share it during our Zoom call on Friday.

In this week’s chapter, McManus asks “how many of us have been called ‘just average‘…?”.  He further explains there’s two ways of looking at someone as “average”.  First, average meaning cut from a typical piece of cloth; I read that to say “nothing special”.  Or, the second way of the meaning behind average is to say someone’s character has convinced him/her to choose the path of least resistance.  You know, the simple way of going through life.  No muss, no fuss.

Kicking off the new book this week means we’re going to challenge ourselves right out of the gate.  One of my favorite quotes from Chapter 1 is “The journey of The Last Arrow begins when raise the bar….”.  Raising the bar means you’re going beyond “just average”.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone, virtually, this Friday beginning at 7:30 am ET.  I’ll kick off the lesson around 7:45 am, but consider connecting to the Zoom a few minutes early to check-in with everyone.  Check your calendar invites for the Zoom information or reach out to me if you need those details.

Here’s the video primer for Chapter 1.

 

Are You Ready for Some…….Archery??

Reminder, gents, that we’re not meeting this week, SEP 18th.  Taking a “break” between study series.

We’ll gather over Zoom next Friday, SEP 25th at our normal time, 7:30 am ET.  Lesson will begin at 7:45 am ET.

The Sign Up Genius is updated to include 10 weeks for our next series.  Please take a moment to lead one or two or more of the Fridays available!  You should already have the Zoom information in your calendar invites.

Lastly, if you haven’t ordered the next book already, today is a good day to do so!  I’m old school…so I need to feel the pages beneath my fingertips.  If you’re “new school” and use the electronic version, then you don’t necessarily need to rush!

Next Book: The Last Arrow-Save Nothing for the Next Life by Erwin McManus

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Last-Arrow-Save-Nothing-Next/dp/1601429533

Also, here’s a great series of videos that we’ll use to support each week’s chapter assignments: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFhpcdq6jK_YnSV-Zstal2nJgPhHrIoJa

Until then, enjoy this week off!  See you next Friday!

Peace!

So that’s It?

Sometime ago in middle school, I believe…..I was taught “if you want to know the key points within the chapter of a book, then flip to the end, and read the last couple paragraphs.”  Admittedly, I’ve tried that more times than not, and even most recently in reading “Run with the Horses”.  If the book is written well, then the author most likely does a great summary of that particular section.

This week, as I started down the road of the final chapter of the book, this week’s homework, I was very impressed with the book’s ending, perfectly summarized in the final two paragraphs.

Spoiler alert….if you haven’t finished the chapter, then I’m about to share a few thoughts that maybe you want to discover on your own.

Peterson references Flannery O’Connor’s comment that “nothing happens in a story unless someone is married or shot in the end.  Some might argue that our story of Jeremiah flops, since he doesn’t die and doesn’t get married.  We are left asking ourselves, “Is that it??”.

For most of us, that IS IT, right?  Whether Jeremiah is successful or unsuccessful is really up to our interpretation.  And I think that’s true even today, about our own lives.

“So, that’s it?”

Or……“So….that’s it.”

Notice the difference?

Let me pause on that note.

Luke Nelson leads us this week.  Always great to wrap up a series with a guy named “Luke” bringing us home!

No Zoom meeting this week.  We’ll meet at The Community Matters Cafe for breakfast and wrapping up.  Please remember to bring a mask when you enter the cafe; you can remove the mask once you sit down.  Anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable gathering in-person is certainly excused.

I’ve asked the restaurant to use their private room.  Waiting to get confirmation on that request or, if not, we can simply take one of the longer tables in the main dining room.

I’ll see you tomorrow at 7:30 am for a great meal, fellowship, and wrapping up a wonderful book!

Reminder that we won’t meet next Friday, SEP 18th.  We’ll begin the next series over Zoom on the 25th.

The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life” by Eugene McManus.  https://www.amazon.com/Last-Arrow-Save-Nothing-Next/dp/1601429533

Peace!

We Gotta Eat…..

You’ve certainly heard of the old saying, “How to you eat an elephant?”

The answer is, “One bite at a time!”

We’re down to only two chapters left in our current study and this week, Chapter 15, doesn’t tell us to “eat the elephant one bite at a time”.  Nope…we’re only told that we have to “eat the elephant”.

Now, before anyone goes skimming through the chapter “fact-checking” me, I’ll be fully transparent saying there’s no reference by Peterson about anything remotely elephant-related.  However, one of the things I took away from the reading was how God calls us to step out of our comfort zone, experience the global village, and understand that the human reality is “to grow in conscious and healthy relationship with all….”.  In other words, you gotta eat the entire elephant!

God is not confined to the “local”, so our efforts must likewise not be confined.

Jason Schubert, thankfully, leads us this week.  The global village is not just taking a mission trip to another country, which Jason certainly has experience doing.  How are we thinking “big picture” in our faith rather than just being faithful to our community of Kool-Aid drinking peers?

Remember the Great Commission?

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  MATT 28:19-20

Maybe Peterson (and Jeremiah) are onto something here….?

Same Zoom info as last week.  Hope to catch up with everyone beginning at 7:30 am. Jason will launch our lesson at 7:45 am.

Peace!

Jeremiah’s Land Grab

I was on a “church call” earlier this week…and our senior pastor made a reference to the book of Jeremiah, which immediately woke me up!  And he talked about Jeremiah sitting in prison and buying a plot of land.  I was scratching my head, wondering where that part of our study had happened….or maybe hadn’t happened yet.  Then, as fate would have things, I picked up this week’s lesson, Chapter 14, where our author immediately talks about Jeremiah buying land in Anathoth!

There are not coincidences in life, gents!

We’re continuing our slow down this week, focusing just on Chapter 14.  David Parker will lead us this week.  Scripture focus is: Jeremiah 32:9-10, 15-17, 24-27, and 42-44.

This week, we’ll talk about “being practical”, which our author describes as “giving high praise”.  How many of us would describe ourselves as practical?  And if not you, then who in your circle of influencers is worthy of “high praise”?  Who’s the most practical among your connections?

Same Zoom invite as last week.  You should also have the calendar invite.

Log in at 7:30 am to check in with the group.  David will kick things off at 7:45 am.

Peace!

No Man is an Island

This week, we’re going to continue to “slow down” a bit….and focus on simply Chapter 13 of our current study.  While we’ve been learning these last few weeks about the greatness of Jeremiah, we’ll discuss this week some of the people around him that, arguably, are instrumental in his success.  “Jeremiah”, our author says in this chapter, “was not friendless….”.

Our discussions this Friday might shepherd us to looking “inward” rather than outward.  Who are in our immediate circle of “friends”…and even beyond in other spheres of influence…..who are these people that have helped us along the way?  Our “slow down” this week actually comes in a several forms; a slowness in our reading assignment and slow-down for introspection.

Deep stuff.

I’ve extended out the Zoom meeting invitation that everyone should have as a calendar invite.  Reach out to me if you don’t see that.

Gather at 7:30 am ET.  Lesson starts at 7:45 am ET.

Peace!