New Series: Faithful Presence

Happy New Year, everyone!

New year….new study series. This week we’ll launch into the book, “Faithful Presence: The Promise and the Peril of Faith in the Public Square” by Bill Haslam. You can find the link to order the book in a previous post on this website. And if you haven’t ordered it yet, no worries. Please plan on joining us this Friday regardless. You’ll always pick up some nuggets or two without even reading the weekly assignment.

Mike Lenhart

Speaking of this week’s homework, if you have the book, please read the book’s Prologue and Chapter 1 (“Divided and Angry”). I’m excited to introduce the book to everyone on Friday.

We had planned on continuing to have two options for our Friday gathering: Virtual over Zoom and in-person at Southpark. However, for the next few weeks, as the Omicron variant remains prevalent, we are going to stick with virtual only. If you need the Zoom invite, please reach out to me separately.

I appreciate your patience and flexibility. Reminder that whenever we gather, virtual or in-person, God is in our presence and for that we remain grateful.

Enjoy the rest of your week! I’ll “see” you on Friday beginning at 7:30 am ET. Lesson begins at 7:45 am ET.


First Series of 2022: “Faithful Presence”

Happy FINAL week of 2021! Wow…..this year seems to have flown by, hasn’t it?

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. Great to see many from our men’s group when we gathered for breakfast a couple Friday’s back.

There were several of you who indicated you’d like us to read “Faithful Presence” by Bill Haslam so I’m recommending that as our first study of the new year. Please go out and purchase the book in your preferred format (hardcover, audio, ect.). It’s available by clicking on the book image below.

Lastly, please consider signing up to lead a lesson or two. We’ll have a total of 14 Friday’s for lessons in the new book plus a breakfast fellowship on the 15th Friday…which also happens to be Good Friday!

Link to SignUp is below:

Sign Up!

Enjoy your New Year’s celebrations! I’ll see you next Friday, JAN 7th!

Peace and joy!

Guest Speaker: Leighton Ford

I couldn’t be more excited about this week’s Starting Friday gathering. Rev. Leighton Ford is our guest speaker this week.

I’ve had the privilege to meet and hear Leighton a few times here in Charlotte. Our men’s group is in for a treat as Leighton will share his thoughts on mentoring, leadership and hearing God’s plan for us.

For our group, this is certainly timely as we enter a period of discernment about how we can expand our efforts to more intentional servant-leadership opportunities. In my email to Leighton earlier this week, on the topic of “servant-leadership”, I simply said….”I think you know a little bit about that….!”

Rev. Leighton Ford

As a brief bio, here’s Leighton from a recent article in celebration of his 90th birthday back in October, 2021:

Ford, brother-in-law to legendary evangelist Billy Graham, spent 30 years as an associate evangelist with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association before founding his own ministry focused on mentoring.

Ford’s son Kevin recently joined as chief catalyst.

From his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, Ford still runs Leighton Ford Ministries, encouraging pastors, missionaries and evangelists around the world. Many are in their 20s and 30s; others have been mentored by Ford for decades.

Please gather over Zoom or in SouthPark beginning at 7:30 am ET. I’ll open us in prayer at 7:45 am, then will introduce our speaker.


Spitball Session for 2022

We’ve got three more gatherings formally planned for the Starting Friday group:

Friday, DEC 3: Planning Session

Friday, DEC 10: Guest Speaker (Dr. Leighton Ford)

Friday, DEC 17: Book selection and wrap-up for the year!

I know several of you have been encouraging our discernment regarding a broader service component to our men’s group. So for this week, let’s plan to “spit-ball” some of those ideas, including discussions on a Winter men’s group retreat in January.

Also starting this week, the Treehouse has become a little too chilly for our gatherings….so Robert has graciously offered up his company’s conference room in South Park on Friday’s for the foreseeable future. I sent out the address/details for Robert’s office via an updated calendar invite. Please ping me separately if you don’t have that.

Lastly, the Zoom invite has changed slightly from this Friday forward. Be sure to use the link and passcode in the updated calendar invite. We will continue to offer both in-person and Zoom options to gather on Fridays.


I’ll see you Friday!


Thinking and Thanking

I always take stock during Thanksgiving week about what I’m “thankful” for in my life. I probably posted a similar message last Thanksgiving, and the year before….and the year before…

As I scrolled through the pictures on my iPhone, I quickly concluded about several things I’m thankful for…friends, workouts, new life, recreation, service to others, wide fairways and Army football. But most of all, I’m thankful for this group.

Enjoy your time with family and friends. We’ll gather next Friday, DEC 3rd at the normal time. I’m finalizing a guest speaker for 12/3.

I have confirmed Dr. Leighton Ford, brother-in-law to Dr. Billy Graham and currently leads a Christian-based mentorship group called “Leighton Ford Ministries” from here in Charlotte. Dr. Ford just turned 90 years “young” and is not slowing down. Dr. Ford will speak to us on DEC 10th.

Lastly, start thinking about potential books for our next study series. We’ll continue to discuss ideas and will make a decision before the end of December.

See you next week!


Winding Down 2021

Seems odd to be saying this, but we’re fastly approaching the end of another year….and making plans for 2022.

I’ve sent out new recurring Zoom invites for next year. We’ll start our 2022 “season” on January 7th.

For the remainder of this year, here’s what the schedule looking like:

NOV 19: Breakfast fellowship at Community Matters Cafe (7:30 am)

NOV 26: No meeting. Thanksgiving break

DEC 3: Guest speaker

DEC 10: Guest speaker

DEC 17: Christmas themed lesson and announcement of next study series

DEC 24: Holiday break

DEC 31: Holiday break

JAN 7: First gathering of 2022! New series begins.

Enjoy the rest of the week! Reminder that there’s no Zoom option this week since we’re gathering at a restaurant.


Talking about the P-word

Did I get your attention?

The “P-word”….. it was all over the news about a year or so ago. “Privilege”.

Even this week, with elections around the country, the “p-word” seems to still be lingering around the news cycle.

But, truthfully, privilege is both confusing and crystal clear to me. I really look forward to our discussion this week. I know there are many sides to this issue.

As always, I love the nuggets from our author. Early on in the chapter, Tyson writes:

“But that’s not the way of Jesus. As the Son of God, he had more privilege than any of us will ever know. As the Son of Man born in a stable and laid in a manger, as the Messiah with no place to lay his head, and finally as the Lamb of God hanging on the cross, he gave us privilege to a more profound extent than anyone else could ever match. Yet in all of this, he modeled for us what to do with our blessings and opportunities; use them for others.”

-Jon Tyson, page 131

Jon Paschal

This week, please read Chapter 8: Sacrifice Must Resist Privilege.

Jon Paschal leads us this week. REMINDER that we’re fully virtual this week over Zoom. No Treehouse as I will be joining you all from Arizona….with hot coffee due to the 3-hour timezone difference!

I’ll see everyone at 7:30 am ET…..4:30 am Arizona-time!

I need a nap just thinking about that!


Hatred is Our Universal Failing

The title for this week’s reminder comes from one of the lines of text in Chapter 7, “Love Must Resist Hate”.

Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you….” (Luke 6:27)

The one thing that I find is most constant in practically every book we’ve read is the feeling of “well, that’s certainly easier said than done.”

Do I have things and people in my life that fall into a category of “hate”? Sadly, yes.

If you subscribe to the title I put above this page, then you probably have things and people that you hate too.

But aren’t there degrees of hate? According to our author, the answer is no.

Hate is hate.

“If someone loudly represents a social, political or religious viewpoint we strongly disagree with….we hate. If someone hurts or betrays us…we hate. If we feel threatened…we hate. If we are treated unjustly … we hate. If someone rejects our love…our love can ominously invert and we hate.” Tyson, pp 116-117

Jesus has the answer though.

Rob Miller


Rob Miller leads us this week and he’s going to pull all these pieces together.

Fresh coffee and a propane heater are my promises for the treehouse in the morning. And if that’s not your thing, Zoom remains available.

See you in the morning. I’ll hate it if you miss out.


Coming in Hot!!

I got no dazzling preview for this week’s chapter.


It’s been that kind of week….plain and simple.

But I’m leading tomorrow morning and I will be ready to go then!

Mike Lenhart

Coming in hot…..that’s me tomorrow morning.

Chapter 6: Honor must resist Contempt. That’s this week’s assignment!

Think about this as you read (or re-read) the chapter. Do you look down upon others when having conversations? If you’re scratching your head when someone says something you don’t agree with, are you dismissing them?

Heads up. The author quotes one of our former authors….Arthur Brooks! No surprise in a chapter on “contempt”, Tyson quotes Brooks!

See you in the morning. Treehouse or virtual.