There was a lot going on in our Community this past Saturday which made it so that some couldn’t be in attendance at Ox Strong, but 26 overall was a great number and still very encouraging. Thanks for your continued efforts with spreading the word about this Ministry. I must say, it was great adding two new faces to the group as well. God is building something wonderful here in Grinnell and I love how each of us have had our fingerprints all over it. Next month we'll have brother Aaron Harper speak...from what I hear he has quite the story. Please announce at Church when and if you're able. Thanks!
Serving Alongside My Fellow Brothers-in-Christ,
Brother Mike Wagner was our guest speaker and he did an amazing job speaking on the topic: Relax, It’s only Uncertainty. Below are a few notes that I took that morning. Hope his challenge will be impactful to each of you. Thank you Skip for bringing brother Mike before our eyes, ears, and men.
Here’s the link to Mike’s challenge on video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBKAGp7tLyk
Note…this would be a great message to forward on to any recent graduate.
Title of Mike’s Message: Relax, It’s only Uncertainty!
We live in a time when Uncertainty is amplified right now. We’re left asking ourselves a few common questions, “Do I try to fix it?”, “Do I take charge?” The answers to these questions vary between those who are Planners, Reactors, and the Retreaters. It’s easy for many to resort to becoming anxious during these times. Many are turning to things that’ll fail them, rather than turning to the Lord.
Mike encouraged us to study each other. In 2 Timothy we find that the Apostle Paul had spent an extended amount of time investing in the life of Timothy that he’d learned so much about him. So much so that he reminds Timothy of his calling, and how he needs to fan into flame the gifts the Lord’s given him.
2 Timothy 1:1-9 reads as follows…
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
Mike reminded us that we too can be an Apostle Paul to our Timothy’s in our homes, churches, and communities. Some folks are like a bag of marbles…they’re in the same bag but not connected…just bouncing off each other. What the Lord and the Apostle Paul are aiming at, is for Christ-followers to be a life giving grape that is connected to THE LIFE GIVER grapevine.
Mike took the contents found in verse 7 above and shared with us some remedies that’ll help each of us battle anxiety, chaos, and or withdrawal during times of uncertainty.
Remedy #1…No Fear/Timidity.
Choosing to step into it and Disciple others…what does that look like?
Order of Books of the Bible to go through when Discipling someone:
A F.O.R.M. for a conversation starter when meeting with others maybe for the first time…ask them about the following:
The 4 chair approach to take into consideration when conversing with others…
Brother Mike has such a pastors heart for those whom God allows him to speak into. For me, I really needed the reminder to Step Into It!!! There are times of uncertainty, self-doubt, insecurities, but I need to remember Mike’s challenge and the following…
What kind of an environment are you participating in and or creating, a Forgiving Culture, or a Cancel Culture?
I read the following article this week and was blown away by the words jotted down by the author. Very convicting to say the least...cause for some self-examination for sure. I hope this causes each of us to stop and think of examples where Christ didn’t cancel others out, including you and I today. May we continue making efforts to learn from His example. Let’s be a Forgiving Culture, rather than a Cancel Culture. Cancel Cultures are only cancerous to any community. Learn to lean into being a forgiving people. Why?
Ephesians 4:32 (NIV) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Colossians 3:13 (NLT) Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Hope you enjoy the article.
Practicing His Presence,
'It's a pretty big fall': How everything changed for Phil Mickelson in just one year
May 16, 2022
‘We're in a cancel culture right now,’ said Webb Simpson, who considers Mickelson a close friend and mentor. ‘If you say one thing, or somebody digs up something in your past, they cancel you. There have been many situations out here, and in sports, where a player might have done something wrong, sure we can all agree, but I would rather be in an environment where it's a forgiveness culture, not a cancel culture.
‘I'm going to screw up. I know I'm going to screw up. I'm going to say things I don't mean, or say things in the moment that sound bad, and I would hope people give me the benefit of doubt. And yeah, there should be consequences for when we screw up, but I don't think it should be as much as we've seen where it's like 'Hey, you're out. You're gone.'" https://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/33916213/pretty-big-fall-how-everything-changed-phil-mickelson-just-one-year
I like to watch crime investigation type of shows. I recently watched one where a murderer took the wallet from the back pocket of his victim. In doing so he left some DNA on the back pocket, which they termed this evidence as Touch DNA. One author states that, “Forensic Science is a multidisciplinary science which helps in crime investigation. To link a suspect to a crime, DNA analysis has been playing a key role. According to the Locard’s exchange principle, when a suspect comes in contact with the crime scene, there is a transfer of evidence from the crime scene to the suspect and vice-versa. The suspect tends to leave the epithelial skin cells containing traces of his DNA on the surface which he comes in contact with. This DNA is referred to as touch DNA and can help in identification of the suspect involved in the crime. In crimes where identification of the suspect has proved to be a potential challenge for investigators, touch DNA has been an effective investigative tool. The present work throws light on the importance of touch DNA in criminal detection.” Link
The Book of Life, and the Lamb’s Book of Life are both mentioned in God’s Word (see the Verses section below)…both are referring to the same book. The only way in which one’s name appears in this Book is by placing his/her faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul reminds us of this truth in Romans 10:14-15, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” In Matthew 28:19-20 we read, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The good news is the gospel message…the message that saves an individual. God chose for his followers to spread the good news, but the intent was for it to not end there. He then commands us to go, make disciples out of these converts, and teach them along the way. The process of spreading the good news, of making disciples, of teaching them, all involve Touch DNA. The only thing we can take with us to heaven are those we impacted with the gospel message/His word. You may never know how many lives you touched or impacted for His kingdom until you arrive in glory. What a day that will be when the Lord opens the Book of Life and reads off someone’s name you witnessed to and or discipled, just knowing that your Touch DNA was all over some individuals will be an exciting moment.
Let me encourage you with this…if you feel you’ve had no part in the spiritual life of another, then reach out to someone today and leave your Touch DNA all over them. Even if they don’t come to a saving knowledge of Christ at that moment, or ever, don’t assume that your words and efforts went unnoticed. The Lord sees all you do and will reward those who are faithful, obedient, and available. Today’s a good day to start!!! Leave some Touch DNA / Good News every where you go. As someone wise once said, “Preach, and sometimes use words.”
Practicing His Presence,
Casting Crowns - Only Jesus (Mark Hall Teaching Video)
Revelation 20:15 (NLT) And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 3:5 (NLT) All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.
Revelation 20:12 (NLT) I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books.
Philippians 4:3 (NLT) And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.
Revelation 13:8 (NLT) And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made.
Revelation 21:27 (NLT) Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Below are some thoughts and questions to really mull over this week. Hope this helps in the growth process.
Gold miners spend their lives looking for the perfect gold-bearing ground. Therein lies their living and success. When it comes to searching for gold-bearing ground, a “term that miners use for the low-value materials that cover the richer paydirt is overburden. This is generally made up of organic materials, soft dirt, and any material with a light specific gravity. Gold isn’t usually found in overburden. When it is, it is generally very low concentrations that aren’t worth processing. To successfully find a lot of gold, you need to remove overburden and get down to the pay layer where good gold is going to concentrate…It may be a waste of time to detect this thick overburden, but using shovels to remove the overburden is a fantastic idea! You expose the bedrock underneath and potentially expose gold that no one has ever had access to before. It can be a lot of work, but it might just pay off! https://raregoldnuggets.com/?p=4216
Many people in our world today are hurting. They have some deep scars that are sometimes not visible at first glance…scars they don’t want detected or exposed…scars that they’ve allowed to hinder their walk with the Lord. When others see just a bunch of overburden in the life of someone else, are you like a gold digger that’s patient enough to remove layers of overburden in order to get down to the paydirt? Are you the optimistic type that tends to want to envision the amount of richness that lies beneath all that rubbish? Are you interruptible enough to take the time to help peel back some of those layers to help others see the gold that God’s placed in them? Or do you see others overburdens as an inconvenience or waste of time? Maybe they used to see the gold in their own lives but have allowed layers of dirt to cover it up. Will you be there with your shovel to help them dig and find that richness in the Lord once again? Is it possible that in time you might be able to expose gold that no one has ever had access to before? It might be a lot of work, but it’ll pay off in the end! All for His Glory!
Sometimes God allows trials and testing's in each of our lives for this very reason. For the one struggling…to rediscover the gold within them. For those observing others struggling…to see if you’ll respond by coming along side and helping scrape off some of that overburden and impurities in their life.
Job 23:10 (NLT) “But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.
1 Peter 1:7 (NLT) These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
John Piper states that, “In God's design, our distresses are like the fire that refines gold from its impurities…When gold is melted in the fire the impurities float to the top and can be removed. When the refining fire is over, the gold is even more valuable. So it is with your faith in God. You have faith. You trust his promises. But there are impurities in it. There are elements of murmuring and pessimism (I speak from painful experience). And there are tendencies to trust money and position and popularity alongside God—dirt mingled with the gold of faith. These impurities in our faith hinder our fullest experience of the goodness and greatness of God. So God designs to refine our faith with the fires of trial and distress. His aim is that our faith be more pure and more genuine. That is, that it be more utterly dependent on him and not on things and other persons for our joy.” Click to view the full Message
Are you allowing God and others to help you remove some of those impurities in your life? Are you willing to help others who need specific impurities removed? What is God teaching you and others through this experience? Are you willing to do what it takes in order to get down to paydirt? Might be a dirty journey, but God will be glorified through it all!!!
Galatians 6:2 (ESV) Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Psalm 55:22 (ESV) Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 68:19 (NIV) Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
Ephesians 3:8, 16 (BSB) Though I am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ…I ask that out of the riches of His glory He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being,
John 9:2-3 (ESV) And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
John 11:4 (NLT) But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”
Now for our third “G”…
there is no health in my body.
8 I am feeble and utterly crushed;
I groan in anguish of heart.
9 All my longings lie open before you, Lord;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart pounds, my strength fails me;
even the light has gone from my eyes.
Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 2 granddaughters, a police chaplain, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter