We had a great turnout once again last Saturday. We had 20 in attendance with three new visitors. Matt did a great job communicating to us how God’s worked on his heart and life throughout the years. Below are Matt's notes from Ox Strong on 10-10-20 that I jotted down as he spoke. Hope you enjoy!
Matt’s challenge can be viewed and listened to at this site https://www.oxstrongmen.org/men.html it is a little quiet at the beginning, but it does get louder further into it.
Theme: Be Strong and Courageous (Joshua 1:9) in the Lord, or A Slave to Fear.
Matt's upbringing...He grew up in Knoxville, IA. He grew up as a Lutheran, and discovered later on that he was missing out on what Church can really be...such as a place of celebration, and a Christian lifestyle / way of worship that is reactive rather than proactive. Matt had a PE teacher who planted a seed within him...a seed for the love of education.
Matt’s College Life...He left Knoxville after High School to attend Graceland University in Iowa. He was a student athlete...participated on the Golf Team. He found it difficult to balance both. His girlfriend, now wife, Lauren attended a different college. She held him accountable with his grades. She wouldn't allow him to come see her until his school work was done and caught up. He is grateful for her confidence in him and for her keeping him focused during his time at Graceland. He later returned to further his education at Buena Vista and then at Drake University (Educational Leadership).
Matt...the family man. He and Lauren, who he considers his better half, did get married and they have two boys (ages 4 and 6). Matt wants to create as many memories with his boys as possible. They bought a camper so they could do a lot of camping. Matt never played soccer before, but he's gone out of his way to learn the game so he can coach his boys.
Matt...the working man. He began as a banker at Wells Fargo. He was in a small group with some school teachers, and began second guessing his career decision. His heart was feeling a tug to become a teacher, and finally made the step to do so...becoming a business teacher at North Mahaska High School for nine years. During his time at NMHS he also took on the role as an Instructional Coach...this involved working with teachers more than working with students. God was building his confidence to get him to where he's at today. His son began attending CICS last fall, and during this time Matt was contemplating what the next steps would be for him and his family. Last year CICS began the search for its first ever on-site Administrator. His son wanted him to apply for the job. Matt was battling getting over the thoughts of job security, and whether or not he was capable for the position. Matt began praying about it, and then followed through with the application process. He received an interview and God provided him with the opportunity to receive the position...he accepted. God gave him the confidence he needed throughout that process and Matt was reassured that this was the right job/fit for him.
Internal Struggles...Matt has been a slave to fear for much of his life. He's had self-doubt since his time at Graceland as well. He wanted to pursue a business degree...he admired administration, but would find himself talking himself out of it from time to time. He wanted to become the principal at CICS, but was unsure about how to handle the long hours and the dealing with parents.
Matt...the Principal at CICS (Central Iowa Christian School). This was God’s doing and not Matt’s. Matt wasn't sure he was qualified for the position, but what brought him joy is knowing that his son wanted him to pursue this opportunity, and that God made it clear to him that this is where he needed to be.
Covid. It was difficult to implement physical distancing in an already small building.
Then in early August the derecho came and destroyed the school house. Scott Surovec and GCC wrapped their arms around them…CICS was able to move into their facility temporarily until the end of January 2021. The school start date got pushed back, which made for challenges for the students to be away from their friends for so long. Once school started back up, they were able to hold chapel inside the sanctuary, and they had access to the sound system for music, which was a huge blessing. They are down eight students in comparison to last school year. Fund raising has been difficult due to Covid. Creative ways in which to fund raise is still in the works. Lastly, the school board terms are up this Spring…replacing solid leadership will be challenging.
Unexpected blessings along the way…being his son’s principal. Seeing him and his son becoming more confident in certain areas of their lives. Getting the opportunity to ride bikes with his son on the way to and from school.
Concerning Fear… Fear can be healthy (for instance…don’t touch the burning stove with your bare hand), but it too can be paralyzing. Fear at times makes it so that you can't even function in whatever task is you're facing. It can negatively affect our obedience to Christ. If He says go, teach, etc, then it can be that fear that’s keeping us from being faithful and obedient to Him. In fear, God provides a peace of mind…He’ll remove the blinders of fear and show us what the right thing is to do…get out of the boat and walk on the water. Remember 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV), which states that, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” A paralyzed mind is a tough rut to get out of. Unhealthy fear is not from God. Fear is a practiced habit. If I’m fearful in one thing, then I’m most likely fearful in other aspects of my life. Some continued fears that Matt is dealing with…is knowing how to empathize with others to show his sincere love and concern. Being sensitive towards others fears and worries…what might not seem as important to him is very important to them. Continued self-doubt…he’s a people pleaser so he believes others will question his heart and intentions. Wondering if others will think he’s consistent is his dealings with each situation that arises. Sensing that others are observing how he handles each scenario. He doesn’t want to get sucked into the comparing game. He understands that he lives in a glass house right now, so his mind will at times want him to go down the path of questioning if he’s really fit for the job. Wondering if he’s knowledgeable enough for the position God currently has him in. Dealing with conflict correctly. Knowing that someone will be upset with a decision that he made, and then hoping that he’ll be bold enough to hold his ground. Knowing how to deal with families who are threatening to pull their child out of the school. These are real fears and concerns, but praying that God will help him navigate through each one His way. May he pass the test early and often.
Group discussion…How we respond to fear is caught by others. If we pass the test, then we provide others to share in that peace during their times of trouble as well…being an overcomer is vital for others to observe, it gives them hope that they too can make it through. Knowing that you might have helped someone else minimize their own fears is rewarding. Matt is seeing that firsthand even in the life of his own son…he too is overcoming some of his fears and becoming more and more social. We discussed paralysis by analysis / getting stuck…succumbing to fear, and where that leads to. Be humble enough to share with others how you’ve handled failure/non-successes in life…humbly displaying your humanness, and admitting when you’re wrong. We all agreed that when others aren’t pleased with us that it helps when we respond with the Word. We shouldn’t allow our emotions to dominate us.
We were encouraged by Matt’s personality…tenderhearted, kind spirited, and passionate about assisting others in the spiritual growth. Each were evident in his challenge to us.
What can we as an Ox Strong / Church Strong community do to help?
Be Strong in the Lord
Fear is a Liar
Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 3 granddaughters, a police chaplain, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter