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:
Enjoy your New Year’s celebrations! I’ll see you next Friday, JAN 7th!
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….!”
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 30years 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.
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 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.
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
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!
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 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.
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!
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!
Short and sweet this week and typing this update has been on my back-burner until today! This week has been “a year”, it seems!
Our assignment for this Friday is chapter 5, “Hospitality Must Resist Fear”. It’s very natural for us to feel comfortable in our own neighborhoods, among our own “people”, even among our own demographics and society status levels. And, admittedly, it’s uncomfortable for me (“us”) to mingle with others “who aren’t like us”, right?
How do we tackle this reluctance? Maybe we take the stance of waiting for the other person to make the first move? See who flinches first, as I’ve said in the title of this post.
I found it somewhat timely that our author quotes Andrew Shepherd, a teacher of theology, as follows:
“Building relationships with the stranger has become increasingly difficult in an age where the dual discourse of the “war on terror” and “the market” hold sway. The influence of these pervasive discourses means Others come to be conceived as threats. The stranger is either to be explicitly feared…..or, is simply another abstract commodity….one to be struggled against.”
pp. 81-82, “Beautiful Resistance” by Jon Tyson
I get it, however. There is evil the world and we cannot, nor should we (in my humble opinion), have blanket trust for everyone and every situation.
But…..what would (and what “did”) … Jesus do?
I’ll leave you to noodle on that until tomorrow.
Ernie Meland is leading tomorrow. I think he’s already read the book five times, so he’s ready for any type of discussion!
Same time as always. Treehouse is open, or hit us up over Zoom!