The Lure of Passivity

Posted by on Jan 12, 2016 in Character, Courage, Fear, Leadership, Transformation | 0 comments

I really couldn’t have said this any better than my friend Chris Bruno of Restoration Project just did. In fact, he says it even better than I could have. This is worth your time… Engage: The Call on Men to Show...

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A Good Man

Posted by on Dec 15, 2015 in Character, Legacy, Transformation | 0 comments

What does a good man look like? “He whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.” Psalm...

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Build Good Men. Continued.

Posted by on Dec 5, 2015 in Character, Community, Culture, Heroes, Legacy, Significance, Venus and Vegas | 19 comments

Yet again, we come face-to-face with the bewildering, heart-breaking news of another mass killing in the U.S. This time, for my wife, Beryl, and me, it pierces even closer to home—3 killed, 9 wounded in Colorado Springs, our home for the past 16 years. Revulsion, grief, ache, and anger boil to the surface. And, just days later, another horrific scene of slaughter takes place in San Bernardino, CA. We watch the horror unfold in stunned disbelief. Coming so shortly after the bombings and killings in Paris and Mali, a world that already felt unstable and unsafe, now feels even less safe and even more bewildering. What is going on? I feel compelled to comment, mostly on the Colorado Springs event, because it happened in my backyard. I’m intentionally bypassing the political issues of abortion, terror or gun control. There is another time and place for that conversation. I’m landing on the common thread in these stories that motivates me more than any other. It’s the same thread I referred to three years ago in the first blog I wrote entitled Build Good Men, following the slaying of over 20 school children in Newtown, CT. I just need to say it again. “How do we build good men?” This, radio commentator Dennis Prager says, is one of the most important questions for any society to effectively answer. I agree. It’s why for the past 20 years it has been my life calling. While we in the U.S. are grateful for the countless good men around us, we are also clearly failing in this arena in dramatic ways. Why is it that we have to ask this question about men? Isn’t it also exceedingly important for societies to “build good women?” Absolutely, it is. But when we watch the violence and slaughter that surround us with increasing frequency, we should admit the obvious…women aren’t the problem. It’s the men. You’ve heard me say it before…men matter. The past week reveals it once again. Don’t women matter too? Of course, they do. But women so often seem more other-centered, and live their lives with a focus on the well-being of their families, their communities and their work colleagues. Why do men matter? Because the difference between good men and wicked men is so extreme. Men seem to cause a disproportionate impact on society, especially when they bring violence.  We men have a life-impacting choice to make: will we direct our energy to bring blessing or destruction to those around us? Our answers affect the world. Just a month ago I told a group of friends of Peregrine ministries, “We don’t know when the next act of mass-killing will take place, what state it will happen in, what weapon will be used, or what location it will take place in. But we do know one thing in advance…the perpetrator will be a man.” We had no idea how soon those factors would be answered, so close to home. The exceptional factor of a woman being one of the shooters in San Bernardino actually emphasizes the point—she was absolutely exceptional. In fact, once the FBI discovered there was a woman involved, their public statement was that this was no longer a typical mass-shooting. Later we discovered she and her husband were likely radicalized Islamists. Yesterday a friend asked me, Why are the killers almost always men? When we pay close attention to the violent stories that surround us throughout the world, a pattern reveals itself: When wounded women lash out, they most often hurt themselves. They direct their energy inward: suicide, prostitution, addiction, cutting,...

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Shame Returns, The Sequel

Posted by on Sep 24, 2015 in Character, Jesus, Redemption, Transformation | 5 comments

Man, am I vulnerable to Shame! Those who know me, have heard me speak, or have read some of my blog posts, know I have a passion to see men (and women) freed from Shame. (I even capitalize the dang word because of its significance.) I’m often reminded that the root of my passion about this subject is my own vulnerability to the message of self-condemnation, and disappointment in self, that rears its head on a regular basis. Shame is the message that, not only did I do something wrong, but there is something wrong with who I am. Guilt is conviction about our behavior; Shame is condemnation about our identity. Conviction comes from the voice of the Holy Spirit. Shame is the condemning lie from the Enemy. I know all of this. Yet I am still vulnerable. My guess is I’m not the only one. Because Shame returns. I really should have gotten that group email out sooner I left out a crucial individual that that email really should have gone to I backed out of an engagement I looked forward to; I should have managed my schedule better I responded defensively when a colleague implied I should have done more I hurt a loved-one (OK, it was my wife) with my impatient response to a completely reasonable request. I should have been more loving The condemnation of the word Should is a common thread. As a friend often reminds me, “We need to stop ‘shoulding’ on ourselves.” I know this. Yet Shame returns. Types of Shame are legion. But, since a man most longs for respect, his greatest fear is failure—loss of respect from others. For men anything in the realm of failure has the potential to bring up the most Shame: Divorce or separation Bankruptcy Failing college Smudged reputation Not measuring up in some physical effort Getting fired Getting kicked out of the military Spending time in prison Embarrassment about body image But nothing casts more Shame than failure of sexual morals, (probably even for non-Christians): promiscuity, emotional affairs, porn, prostitutes, strip clubs, abortion. Scripture reminds us that sexual sin has the unique distinctive that it is the one sin that reverses direction and attacks ourselves the most. I Cor. 6:18 You may have heard me say this before, but today I’m reminding myself, and you, of the steps that bring about inner and outer reconciliation and freedom from Shame: 1. We embrace grace. “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.“ Rom. 3:23, 24 When we forget the power of Grace, we diminish the infinite power of the work of Jesus. 2.We believe what God says about forgiveness and acceptance. “Their sinful and unlawful acts I will remember no more. And where these have been forgiven there is no longer any sacrifice for sin”!! Heb. 10: 17, 18 Though we continue to fall short of even our own standards, we remind ourselves that, unbelievably, God chooses to forget. Because the work of the cross is enough. 3. We believe what God’s word says about Shame. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 8:1 Or as The Message puts it, we “no longer have to live under a continuous low-lying black cloud.” “No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame…” Psalm 25:3 “I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant;...

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There Will Never Be Another

Posted by on Sep 24, 2015 in Character, Heroes | 0 comments

Saturday mornings, waiting for Mom and Dad to wake up, were a cartoon-fest in my home when I was a boy. Among others, one of my favorite shows was Yogi Bear. Because he was “smarter than the average bear.” So it was with disbelieving shock that I eventually heard of a Yankees baseball player, Yogi Berra, apparently named after the cartoon star. What parent would play such an awful trick on their child? Of course, later I discovered it was the other way around; Berra was such a successful ball player (eventually playing in 14 World Series, guiding his team to win 10 of them) that his name was adopted for the star of Saturday mornings. Today I learned that Berra passed away at the age of 90. His sports accomplishments may never be repeated. But it was his unique way of twisting the English language that was truly one-of-a-kind. Some examples as summarized by the Associated Press: On selecting a restaurant: “Nobody goes there any more. It’s too crowded.” On travel directions: “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” On being told he looked cool: “You don’t look so hot yourself.” On seemingly repeated events: “It’s déjà vu all over again.” On economics: “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” On being asked what time it was: “You mean now?” His approach toward baseball: “90% is mental. The other half is physical.” On his team’s diminishing pennant chances (and now, his life): “It ain’t over til it’s over.” On death: “Always go to other people’s funerals. Otherwise they won’t go to yours.” Yogi’s spontaneous comments were bewildering, hilarious and insightful all at the same time. He was smarter than the average bear. There will never be another quite like him....

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A Quiet Testimony

Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in Character, Heroes, Legacy | 0 comments

My first memory of a championship football was listening to the radio, as a 10 year-old in December of 1963, cheering on the Chicago Bears as they beat Y.A Tittle and the New York Giants. One of the stars on the Giants was Hall of Fame wide receiver/running back, Frank Gifford, who later went on to star on the legendary Monday Night Football announcing crew of 1971-1985 along with Howard Cossell and “Dandy” Don Meredith. Gifford brought a foundation of believability and steadiness to that entertaining team. What Gifford is less known for is that he was a man of solid faith; just less prone to drawing public attention to that fact than others might. The comments on this clip from his widow, Kathie Lee Gifford, on the Today Show demonstrate how important his spiritual values were to Frank. All of Kathie Lee’s comments are poignant and worth watching, but the heart of her comments, and of Frank’s faith, are mentioned at the 3:00 mark. Her testimony of Frank’s depth and impact reminds me of the great advice attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use...

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