Are You Constrained or Unleashed?

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in Character, Compassion, Courage, Leadership, Legacy, Significance, Transcendence | 0 comments

Not long ago I heard a speaker, sadly I don’t remember his name, say, “Don’t just give people rules to follow; give them values to believe in.” I think that is remarkably perceptive advice. Rules constrain people into obedience due to another person’s position of authority or ability to punish non-compliance. Values unleash a person to action based on what he or she believes in; they form a powerful connection with ideas or principles that matter on a heart level. At Peregrine Ministries, we guide and inspire men on their life journey, to help them leave a life-giving legacy. In doing so, we are compelled by the following values: Legacy Legacy is the part of us that lives in others after we’re gone. We receive an inheritance we didn’t choose. Transformation determines the legacy we will pass on. Transformation Every word we write and every action we take as a ministry is to see the hearts of men increasingly transformed into the likeness of Christ. Authenticity We aspire to conduct our relationships with a commitment to being truthful about ourselves, so that the man others see is increasingly consistent with the man we are beneath the surface. Community We pursue the “Third Place”- not home, and not work, it’s a setting where we know others deeply, reveal ourselves genuinely, and simply enjoy each other’s presence. Integrity The commitment to make every decision with honesty, even when it hurts. We willingly speaking the truth in love; bringing both courage and compassion. Compassion The conscious choice to feel what others feel, and to act on their behalf. It comes from our own wounds that are healed and redeemed. Redemption When God takes a part of our story that is broken, and turns it around 180 degrees to make it a powerful source of healing for others. Mission Being compelled to act, speak and live from the deepest part of our hearts for the benefit of others. The unique combination of God-given talents, gifts and values that create God’s calling in our lives. We can’t not do it. Adventure We embrace the risk, challenge and exhilaration of regularly engaging with Creation. Significance Reminding ourselves, and teaching men, that our significance is not based on our Power, Possessions and Prestige, but on the foundation of who our Creator is. Transcendence Though we live in a broken world, we intentionally anticipate, plan for and celebrate the periodic glimpses of overflowing joy, jaw-dropping beauty and staggering glory we encounter in nature, music, art, writing, sports and relationships. These are all clues of an eternal, transcendent hunger in our hearts. These values inspire us at Peregrine to do what we do. Have you ever identified your deepest values? What do your actions, your priorities and your emotions reveal about your values? I’d love to hear what they...

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A Whimsical, Unloving God?

Posted by on Sep 5, 2014 in God, Transcendence | 6 comments

I think one of the struggles that Christians and non-Christians share is understanding how God, who says He is the embodiment of love, allows the horrors we see around us virtually every day. I’ve heard many Believers say it’s the question they intend to “confront” God with when they get to heaven. It’s an honest question, the answer to which our finite minds can’t yet grasp. I confess I wrestle with it, too. Often. Whether or not it’s what will jump immediately to mind once we encounter the over-whelming majesty of God…we’ll see. I doubt it. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the first thing I’ll be doing is to hit the ground face down, awestruck, trembling with the beyond-my-imagination glory of God’s face. And I’ll stay there for quite awhile. I won’t be alone. When I do get up, perhaps a few rapture-filled centuries later, the question will no longer matter. With my new awareness of the larger picture, the question won’t even make sense. In the mean time, I appreciate this comment from Mike Mason the author of The Gospel According to Job: “People would not be people if they were entirely reasonable, and so it is with God. How reasonable is grace? Or love? Many cannot believe in God because they cannot stomach His whims. But to allow the Lord His whimsicalness—and more than that, to bless him for it—is faith.” p. 38 Lord, I believe. Help me with my unbelief. Can you...

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When It Rains, It Hails

Posted by on Aug 29, 2014 in Anger, God, Transcendence | 10 comments

In the past few months I’ve grown increasingly weary by a series of unmet hopes and regular-life challenges. I recounted to a friend the technical disruptions that began first with this blog, and then the Peregrine website, being hacked; thousands of dollars being defrauded from two accounts (since reimbursed); email turning annoyingly glitchy and then entirely “dark,” disrupted for days. I also related the hail storm that caused thousands of dollars of damage to our car, the nine weeks of limitless repair delays, followed by an unbelievable claim against us (which we are contesting) for another $1500 hail damage on the rental car after we returned it. I mentioned a few other issues that felt like unfair piling on and he responded, “Wow, when it rains, it hails.” We all know that feeling: the periodic seasons in our lives when it seems that everything that could go badly, does. We watch friends’ marriages fall distant until they finally divorce in exhaustion; the shocking physical maladies that follow one after another, seemingly at random; financial losses at the hands of others who have no sense of integrity; the slow, gradual passing away of parents; children who suffer teasing or discrimination through no fault of their own. When does it end? I have felt the sadness, pain and confusion of friends, and have had very little to offer in terms of advice. I’ve recognized that I’ve felt bewilderment, compassion and even agony at their suffering. I’ve also increasingly recognized that I’ve been angry. At God. Though it may sound dangerous to admit it, I know God is certainly “big enough” to handle my anger. Many of the most honest authors in Scripture have admitted as much. It has felt in some ways like righteous anger, ironically, to feel this way on behalf of others. Increasingly, though, I’ve needed to admit that I’m angry at God, on my behalf, not just on others’. The challenges I encounter pale in comparison to those of other friends; and they certainly do in comparison to a man like Job in the Old Testament. But rereading his story is revealing to me some important principles. In the book, The Gospel According to Job, author Mike Mason points out that Job’s first response in trial was to worship God. But he did so honestly. Was he filled with some sort of other-worldly peace and joy in the middle of his suffering? “No, not at all. He was as broken and cast down as a man can be.” (p. 35) Yet he still chose to worship (Job 1:21a). Mason points out that “real worship has less to do with offering sacrifices than with being a sacrifice ourselves.” (p. 36) I’m reminded, yet again, that this world is so horribly broken that we will regularly encounter the disappointments and tragedies life offers to all. When you and I feel the weight of the world’s brokenness, when it seems that it is not only raining, it’s hailing, remember that our very lives themselves are an offering to God. “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, for this is your spiritual worship.” (Ro. 12:1) An indication of growing spiritual maturity is the ability to worship in the middle of life’s...

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7 Things I Wish the Church Knew About Me

Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in Community, Courage, God, Transcendence | 2 comments

I thought this was an extremely honest perspective from a person struggling with church as she has known it. Does she represent a large slice of her generation? What do you think of her points? 7 Things I Wish the Church Knew About Me

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Our Highest Priorities and Deepest Values

Posted by on Oct 8, 2013 in Fathers, Legacy, Significance, Transcendence | 0 comments

Thanks to my colleague, Jim Hughes, for spotting this gem. As an outdoorsman and father it’s right up his alley. At Peregrine we help men identify their highest priorities and deepest values, and then guide them to make courageous decisions to live by them. One of our organizational values is to regularly engage in the adventure and glory of God’s creation. We also call men to passionately live out the roles they have in life: son, brother, husband, father and grandfather. We urge you to take the time to view this spectacular short film, Searching for West, and follow this man’s journey towards significance. The profound challenge to identify his deepest priorities and values and the courage to live by them is an inspiration. All of us find ourselves facing competing priorities for our time; and frequently both priorities are great ones. How do we decide which to...

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Dangerous Play

Posted by on Sep 1, 2013 in Community, Fear, Redemption, Significance, Transcendence | 8 comments

“What did ‘play’ mean for you as a boy? What does it look like now?” Those were the deceptively profound, seemingly innocent, questions posed to me, and a group of men, at a Brotherhood Adventure last week in the Poudre River Canyon, west of Fort Collins, CO. By the end of the conversation I thought, I wish Beryl and every woman I know could have heard what I just heard. We were men from all over the country, meeting as board members and advisers for Restoration Project, a wonderful partner men’s ministry with Peregrine, started by Chris Bruno and Greg Daley. The question posed by Chris, opened up surprising responses, including my own. My responses: • Play was initially about dirt and mud. When I was 5 my dream career was to be a ditch-digger. I longed to be just like the men I saw tearing up dirt and laying sewer lines in the countryside of Glenview, IL in 1958. That eventually got “civilized” out of me. Boys in the northwest suburbs of Chicago aren’t supposed to get dirty. • Play became about sports—dodge ball, softball, cannonballs in the local swimming pool, touch football, and “Red Rover.” That eventually got trained out of me. Sports became less about play and more about competition, performance and winning. I still wrestle to redeem the “play” of competitive swimming. Other responses courageously offered by the men present: • “In Junior High play with other boys was full of bullying and embarrassment.” • “I learned that other boys aren’t safe. And, eventually, that men are dangerous.” • “When I compete with men, I want to kill them.” (This from a guy who brought a handgun that afternoon to a 4-wheeling jaunt. Judging from past observation, we knew he was comfortable using it.) • “I’m not sure I know how to play any more. Something got lost.” There were more, deeply honest and revealing, comments from a room full of men who, by appearance, age range and by geography from across the country, looked like a typical male sampling. Almost invariably the comments revealed pain, embarrassment, uncertainty, loss, fear and shame. And we were talking about play, for Pete’s sake! Of course, on the surface we all know how to play Texas Hold ‘Em (except for me; I re-learn the rules every 5 years, or just say, That’s OK, I’ll watch.); we all know how to recite the expected familiarity with the NFL, NASCAR, the NBA, NHL or MLB. We all have our selected few sports in which we will confidently engage. But just beneath the surface “play” reveals the emotions mentioned above, and one more even deeper thought, “I’m not sure I really measure up as a man.” That’s what I wish women could have heard: the subtle, competitive, pain-tinged, and sometimes abuse-filled memories that the word “play” brings to honest men. Even a sport as typically innocuous as golf is filled with both longings for the joy of nature and male brotherhood, along with abject fear of how that first drive on the first hole is going to go. Men, does it do that for you? Me, too. One of the men, whose “play” is both adventuresome and safe, more so than just about any other man I know, is my college friend and sister’s husband, Mike Anderson. Mike helped re-introduce me to “dirt” on fishing expeditions in Canada with our kids a number of years ago. I’m indebted to him. Take a look at the pictures included here. They are of this same group of men mentioned above, having the time...

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