Joseph….you know, the “other” Joseph!

We’re up to daily devotions 13 – 18 this week and much of the storyline if focused on Joseph. Not “Joseph” husband to Mary….but that “other” Joseph that had a multi-colored jacket, was envied by his brothers, thrown into a well…..yada, yada, yada!

Reminder of our book series is this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1087716799/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

David Parker

Apologies again if some ordered a different book with a similar title but by the same author.

David Parker leads us this week. Excited for him to share his thoughts on the six devotions for our group.

Remind me to bring up possibly gathering in person once a month, as folks feel comfortable. I want to make sure if/when we do meet in person that we still have the ability for others to gather virtually at the same time over Zoom.

Have a great rest of the week and I’ll see you on Zoom this Friday!

Peace!

Are you pursuing a program….or pursuing a person?

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.

Mark Joyce

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.

Peace!

New Series: Getting Around the Loser’s Limp

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!

Mike Lenhart

The scripture reading for the first six are as follows:

  • Colossians 1:17
  • John 1:1
  • Romans 3:23
  • 1 John 1:9
  • Philippians 2:8
  • John 14:6

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.

Peace!

Wednesday of Holy Week….nothing too spectacular!

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.

Here’s the book for you to purchase in advance:

“No More Excuses: A 90 Day Devotional for Men” by Tony Evans

Blessings this Easter season!

Peace!

Brady versus Mahomes: Who Wins?

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!

Mike Lenhart

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.

See you at 7:30 am ET over Zoom.

Peace!

Politically, I don't care what party you're from, offer a point of view and let's see what happens and really debate the issues rather than use personal attacks. Really talk about it, talk about immigration, talk about education, talk about pollution. - Robin Williams

Upon the fields of friendly strife…..

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?

Jon Paschal

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!

Enjoy the rest of the week.

Beat Navy!

For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn…..

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.

Mike Lenhart

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.”

See you at 7:30 am ET on Friday over Zoom.

Peace!

The “Identity” of Speed Dating

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.

Luke Nelson

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.

Peace!

Two Choices

Fast forward to the last page in this week’s assignment, Chapter 4: “How Can I Love My Enemies If They Are Immoral?”

Too many of us are like the Pharisee in Luke’s Gospel who prays, “God, I thank You that I am not like other people–robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.” We should be more like the tax collector who, Luke tells us, “would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Arthur Brooks, p. 107
Jason Schubert

Now there’s certainly more to the chapter than just that final paragraph….so I’d encourage you to read the entire chapter! But, like me, perhaps you’ll start with that paragraph, put the book down and reflect…then begin with the first page of Chapter 4.

Jason Schubert leads us this week! I’ll look forward to seeing all of you starting at 7:30 am over Zoom.

Seize the day!

Peace!

Daddy…are we there yet?

Surely all of us can relate to that statement….”Daddy…are we there yet?” You’ve either said it….or heard … or even both!

Mike Lenhart

This week’s homework is reading Chapter 2, “Love Lessons for Leaders”. I’m signed up to lead…but am only half-way there….but I promise to be done with the chapter later today….getting us to the “destination” in plenty of time!

As I’m half-way through, I’m finding that the title is a little misleading. Maybe the second half of the chapter brings home some “love lessons”. Or perhaps it’s a play on words.

The chapter is a great continuation of the “don’t be a jerk” theme from last week, if that’s any consolation.

Same login for the Zoom meeting as last week. I’ll look forward to some quick fellowship at 7:30 am with you all. Then we’ll “get there” starting at 7:45 am.

Peace!