|Thanksgiving at Grandpa and Grandma's house in Grass Valley
|The kids had a great time at Del Osso Family Farms in November!
|Thanksgiving at Grandpa and Grandma's house in Grass Valley
|The kids had a great time at Del Osso Family Farms in November!
Reminder - getting to know your children requires that you set aside time. This will not happen by accident. Be at least as pro-active in doing this with the kids you love as you are with the co-worker that you can't stand.
- What words would you use to describe each of your children?
- What are their strengths and natural abilities?
- What are their weaknesses and the things that they struggle with?
- What sins are they struggling with?
- How will these realities affect them as they get older?
- What are you doing to nurture their gifts?
- What are you doing to help them overcome the sins that they struggle with?
- What are their worries?
- What are their favorite activities?
- Who would they consider their good friends?
- Are you asking your wives for their insights?
|It takes a man to teach boys how to be Godly men.
|Don't miss Bob Nass' retirement celebration January 1st in Concord!
This was undoubtedly one of the most intense summers we've ever experienced as a family. A significant part of our ministry is done in the context of our summer camps, and camps essentially ran from June to the end of July with no substantial break between them.
Though my family was able to be with me at some of the camps, this was definitely an eye opening experience in learning how intentional I'll have to be during the camping season to make sure that my most important ministry, my family, is not neglected in the midst of the summer's craziness. I was able to see first hand the enormous blessing of friends and Elders who are not afraid to keep me accountable in this regard. Thank you to those individuals who are not afraid to ask the hard questions! Your support is truly vital to the success of our families ministry through Christian Service Brigade.
I continue to try to balance the demands of our business and ministry through this transition period. Our goal is to be in ministry full time by January with only a few key business responsibilities still to watch over at that time. I'll therefore be focusing the rest of this year on raising support so that we can begin ministry in earnest on January 1st. I am also currently working with Bob Nass to help support CSB discipleship programs as they get up and running again for this school year. In fact, if any of you reading this would like more information on how we can support your church in providing opportunities for the men in your church to disciple the next generation of men send me a quick email or give me a call. I'd love to hear from you!
In the rest of this letter you will find a really encouraging story from this summer, an update on our support status, some "fast facts" about the past few months, and a great little book recommendation. I hope you enjoy the update and the story below!
A Conversation Neither of Us Wanted to Have
Zac stood there in front of me asking what I thought of his hair. It's not that I hated his mohawk. It was pretty short and wasn't some obnoxious fluorescent color. But I knew what Bob Nass the camp director would think and I knew I'd agree with his general opinion even if I didn't share his level of passion over the subject.
We were at pre-camp counselor training and as with all our counselors Zac was being trained to be a defacto face representing the camp. As a camp our goal is to help parents who are entrusting their children to us to leave with confidence that their children would both be safe and would come home more mature in their Christian walk then when they arrived. Hair, for better or worse, communicates, and for that reason I was pretty sure Bob would demand that Zac's coiffe be summarily guillotined.
The sad thing is that this young man had no clue what was coming. What Zac intended to simply be an expression of his individuality was about to become a test of character. Bob didn't bring down the hammer as quickly as I thought he would, but when it finally fell and he told Zac that the Mohawk would have to go, Zac was left befuddled and perplexed. As he passed me he said with absolute resolution "I am NOT cutting my hair." He didn't see why it had to go. My point in relaying this story is not to make a comment about the propriety or lack of propriety of mohawks. This simply provides a set-up for the cool things that happened next ...
Before I move the story forward it would be helpful to relay to you that I met Zac at camp 3 years ago when he was 12. At that time God made it possible for me to get to know him and his family and I have had the privilege over that time to regularly disciple him. There have been some really hard, frustrating, bang your head against the wall moments over those three years. But in the midst of those challenges God has made it clear that he has plans for this young man. So back to my story ...
Knowing the friendship that I have with Zac, Bob asked me if I would talk to him about the hair situation. I was not really excited about it. But I dutifully told Bob I would talk to Zac. I procrastinated. That means I put it off. The day passed. The next morning rolled around. I was hoping Bob had forgotten and I could "forget" too. No such luck. Bob asked if I'd talked to Zac yet. "Uh ... Not yet." Clearly Bob was not going to forget. I took a deep breath. Time to man up. As is so often the case, the moment of truth was a providential "duh!" I couldn't avoid it. All of the Junior Counselors had just finished a team building exercise and were heading back inside and Zac and I were the last ones to turn to go inside. I looked at him and said "you and I have to have a conversation that neither of us want to have."
God was gracious. No sparks flew. There would have been sparks two years before. But God has been working in Zac.
What proceeded to unfold was a conversation that used the surface trivialities of hair style to deal with important biblical principles. What started as a conflict over hair resulted in a God honoring conversation about,
I wish you could have been there to see this! The transformation in Zac's countenance began almost immediately as soon as the conversation began. Rather than rebellion I saw a young man willing to humble himself. Rather than excuse making I saw a young man willing to listen to counsel.
Don't misunderstand me, there was an internal conflict going on. But clearly Zac was in the process of mortifying his flesh and deciding to live for others rather than himself. This was a big moment and it was a privilege to be able to witness first hand. I felt as if I'd been granted a front row seat to witness a heart being changed.
We closed in prayer. A prayer that brought me to tears. Some might think this was just a conflict over hair. Nope. This was a profound moment of transformation.
It has been exciting over the past few months to see how God has provided for our family. Because I was occupied with camps this summer I was unable to follow-up or be pro-active in our support raising efforts. Even considering this, however, many of you responded with financial support to our initial letter and we are currently at about 15% of where we need to be to be fully supported. Thank you to each of you who have generously given financially to help make our ministry possible!
Additionally, I know that there are a number of you who have committed to pray for us. That is no insignificant thing and we are grateful that you are bringing us before the throne of God. The prayers of the Saints are vital to our ministry. Please don't forget our family when you pray.
Persuasions - A dream of reason meeting unbelief
Most books on apologetics are boring and intimidating. This is not a "how to" on apologetics, rather, Doug Wilson uses the Pilgrims Progress theme of a road between Heaven and Hell to create the context for amazingly real life encounters between "Evangelist" and numerous people representing various worldviews as they make their way to the city of destruction. This book is by far one of my favorites and I have given countless numbers of them away. It is especially good to give away to young men as a means of exciting them about both apologetics and evangelism.
It's funny, Biblically sound ... and short.
Click here for more information
Recently my son unwittingly made me aware that there are different kinds of mirrors. I may have learned about this fact previously, elementary school or something like that, but until a week ago I guess I'd just plain forgotten. More likely ignored it.
Josh is getting older. Every day that passes and inch he grows the stakes grow as well. It feels like we have so little time left to help point him in the direction of godly masculinity. As the pressure mounts all of his boyish imperfections seem to grow more and more glaring ... and annoying. I encourage him to mortify these areas of his flesh now. The farther down the path he pushes them the deeper the rut he'll have to pull himself out of. With all the wisdom that retrospect provides I urge him to not wait but to deal with bad habits now before their roots grow deep and require a community effort to remove. I thought if I reasoned biblically with my children that they'd ... get it ... I forgot about indwelling sin. Why do I have to repeat myself so frequently? Why doesn't he get it?
I was busy thinking about all of this one evening as we prepared for dinner. I was looking at him wondering what I could try next, what tactic I could attempt like Gandalf at the western gate of Moria, what magical words could I summon to open the doors of his heart. At that moment the spotlight that I thought I had been in control of was suddenly swung uncomfortably in my direction. Do you realize how hot those things are when they are shining right on you?
What did the spotlight reveal? To my genuine alarm the realization crashed in on me … “I think he's acting like me!” If I'd said it out loud it would have been said with an admixture of horror and confusion.
I stood there blinking like one of those tacky neon signs in Vegas that are impossible to ignore. The realization tumbled through the cobweb strewn halls of my mind, rooms that heretofore have seen very little light. So many of those sinful character traits that I have been trying to weed out of Josh’s life with one hand I have been traitorously planting with the other hand. Like Miss Havisham in Dickens classic novel Great Expectations I have been training my own little protégé to treat others with the kind of heartless pride and dismissiveness as Miss Havisham had trained Estella. Dickens wrote Miss Havisham so well that we hate her for sowing these seeds in that little girl. I hate her. Good thing the mirrors of my heart are dusty and covered with cobwebs or I may have seen earlier that I've been doing the same thing.
As a husband and a father I am a leader. This means that like it or not I have followers. People who are walking behind me on the paths that I am treading. Through time and proximity they rub up against me and without knowing it start walking, talking, complaining, and rolling their eyes just like I do. Who can blame them? I'm their leader. They're FOLLOWING me.
And so as I looked at Josh standing there in the kitchen I grasped the truth that though he was doing so unwittingly he nevertheless was a sweaty 11 year old mirror of myself. Yes, he is culpable before God for his own sin, but I am no less culpable for my own. Who carries the greater blame? Well, Jesus said that it would be better for me to tie a mill stone around my neck and be thrown into the sea than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. I'm the adult after all. I have been given much and therefore much is required of me.
So, now that God has opened my eyes to this uncomfortable reality, what am I going to do? This is a big project. Not changing my son, but changing myself. Well, he just spilled the milk ... moment of truth number one ... will I laugh and help him clean it up? Or will I do that thing that comes so much more naturally?
|Canadian Canoe Trip 2011
Saturday, October 1 • 8:30am - 4:30pm________________________________________
Kiwanis Youth Camp, La Grange, CA________________________________________
California 132 & Lake Rd
This annual event is a great way for dads and their sons to spend the day enjoying their time together as they have fun competing with other dad/son teams.
•Air Pistols, Archery, Canoeing, Legume Launch, and more!
Six events for each age group (Grade K-2; Grade 3-4; Grade 5-6; and Grade 7-12) Trophies and ribbons awarded for overall winners as well as individual competition winners • Every boy receives a participant ribbon
•Bar-B-Que lunch provided • Free hot coffee all day!
•The competition begins at 8:30 on Saturday but there is a free opportunity to camp out at the competition site the night before for any dads and sons who would like to do so. There is no additional cost for this and it is an additional opportunity to spend time together as dads and sons. This event is intended to be fun and friendly. Each Dad/Son pair moves from event to event throughout the day accumulating points throughout the day. Awards will be awarded before departure the same day. It is possible to bring more than one son to compete with but if you want to bring more than two you should contact Dave Gregg to discuss the logistics.
cell: (510) 209-3678
• Substitute Dads
Do you know of a boy without a dad available? This would be a great opportunity to come alongside that boy and give him a great day while investing in his life. A Medical Release Form is required only for those boys attending without their legal dad. Substitute dads must be at least 10 years older than their “son.” Contact Bob Nass at email@example.com for medical release forms.
COST: $25 per man, $15 per boy
DOWNLOAD THE REGISTRATION FORM HERE:
cell: (510) 209-3678
•Father/Son Team Day is co-sponsored by Christian Service Brigade and Sequoia Brigade Camp. It is NOT necessary that fathers or sons have any affiliation with a church, CSB or SBC in order to participate.
Dear Friends, April 1, 2011
I knew what we were doing was pretty unique, but as I sat there doing the mental math it suddenly dawned on me that I’d become a part of something that was truly one in a million. Five men were commissioning Jared as he stepped over the threshold into full manhood.
When I met Jared he was one of those hyperactive 12 year old boys whose energy level was of mythical proportion. You know, the kind that can fluster the most unflappable and seasoned Sunday school teacher and about whom we tend to cynically shake our heads and prophesy an inevitable familiarity with the U.S. judicial system.
Yet here we were, 6 years later, and five men who in faith had seen the great potential hidden under all of Jared’s hyperactive lunacy were now an audience to God’s faithfulness.
This young man, who faithless eyes would have tossed into the trash heap of hopelessness, stood before us a stalwart disciple of Jesus Christ. Surrounded by this company of men there could be no doubt in Jared’s mind that he is not alone in the battles that will inevitably face him as he steps into the universally terrifying uncertainties of his adult life.
So few young men today have the blessing of a group of godly men believing in them and investing in their lives. But it doesn't have to be this way! More and more I am seeing God awaken Christian men from their slumber and calling them to take an active part in raising up the next generation of men to faithfulness and usefulness to Christ their King.
I can speak to this first hand, as I saw this same kind of war being waged for my own heart when I was a boy. In fact some of you reading this letter may have been flustered by ME when I was twelve! (And if that is the case please accept my belated yet sincere apology). But God was good, and it was largely through the discipleship of men I encountered through the ministry of Christian Service Brigade that God gave me the vision of Christ-like masculinity and a love for His Word that I have today.
My appreciation for this ministry and belief in its mission helps to explain why over the next year I will be making the transition from full time small business owner to full time Christian missionary as a Regional Director for Christian Service Brigade.
The Elders of my church, the leadership of CSB Ministries, and most importantly my family all agree that God has prepared and positioned us to take on this exciting ministry. Brigade is not so much a program as it is a ministry tool to help men do what they are called to do: pass the torch on to the next generation.
My new role will entail the following:
1. Raising awareness of the ministry of CSB and how it can help churches disciple the next generation of men
2. Supporting current churches that have a CSB program
3. Personal discipleship of men and boys
4. Assisting with the running of Sequoia Brigade Camp
For the past 2 years I’ve already been working alongside the current Regional Director, Bob Nass, with plans to gradually transition into that role as he steps back toward retirement. I am pleased to announce that I am now officially on CSB Staff and the transition can begin in earnest.
In addition to the work above, the next year will be focused in large part on raising financial support. Put simply, our family will be serving as domestic missionaries. This means in our case that 100% of the support for our family will need to be raised and as you all know living in California is no cheap feat.
There are so many exciting things happening right now but we depend on the financial support of friends like you to make this ministry possible. The sooner we can get fully funded the sooner we can dedicate our full attention to this vital ministry.
Would you partner with us by committing to support our ministry with a monthly or even one time financial gift as we strive to help churches effectively reach men and boys for Christ? We are looking for 5 partners at $250/month, 25 partners at $100/month, and 35 partners at $50/month but we are genuinely grateful for whatever you are able to do.
We’ve already seen the great effect of your prayers on our behalf and covet your partnership in prayer. If you would be willing to commit to being a regular prayer supporter, please let me know so I can keep you informed.
Thank you for your consideration as we help to equip the next generation of faithful Christian men with vision and tools for kingdom advancement
In the Service of Christ our King,
Associate Regional Director, CSB Ministries
P.S. To provide financial support please send to: CSB Ministries, P.O. Box 150, Wheaton, Il. 60187 or call the main office to pay by credit card (800) 815-5573. You can even get set up on automatic payments. (David Gregg account number - # 312070)