Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Letter I received from a young man

Is it as obvious to you as it is to me how exceptionally capable 
young men are of maturity? 
If this picture doesn’t convince you read this letter I received.

I received this email from a 15 year old young man I have been discipling for the past year and a half. When I first met him at camp he seemed devoid of almost any ability to control his impulses. He was a constant drain on my energy. And yet, underneath that foolishness great potential seemed to loom. We started writing back and forth, I got to know his parents, and the results of lots of time and prayer can be seen in this email. It stands in such stark contrast to his former childishness that I called him after receiving this to make sure he actually wrote it. “Everything but the poem” was his response. I hope you are as encouraged by his words as I was!

Here is what he wrote:

“Strength. Sometimes I strive for it in the wrong way. I try to muster up my own courage, I try to be stronger, or squelch any fear I may be having. I try. I try. I try. And it’s all wrong. That’s why true strength can often elude us. WE are doing the trying. True

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ministry Updates: October 2012

The Legume Launch. Sometimes the target becomes the back of dad's head.

A lot has happened over the past few weeks. As always we thank you for your interest in our ministry and really appreciate your prayers!

Father/Son Team day
A little over a week ago I had the exciting opportunity to help organize the 2012 Father/Son Team Day. It was such a joy to see 197 fathers and sons playing, competing, and memorizing scripture together. You can learn more about it or see a few pictures from the event.
New churches
I have had the privilege over the past couple months to see the establishment of a couple new CSB discipleship programs. Westminster Pres. in Yakima, WA announced a family discipleship night and saw more than 100 people show up interested in a context where dads and moms could disciple their sons and daughters. I got another call from a youth pastor who recognized that he needed to train his young men to become godly Christ-centered leaders. So we helped him set up a weekly night in which men in the church disciple the young men and they in turn get a chance to practice leadership!

Ministry Stories: Some Thoughts on Shaving

With each pass of my razor it became clear that this ordinary moment
in my life was not ordinary for him at all.
Shaving is a big deal. It’s a big deal for dudes who have to shave daily, because it’s an annoying hassle and blades are a hugely expensive racket running a close second behind ink cartridges. But when you are a young man it’s a big deal in a totally different way. It represents a major threshold into manliness. It is easy for me standing so far past that threshold to forget how important this mark of masculinity was to me as a young man.

My own fatherlessness was not a daily part of my thinking, but I can still feel the palpable sense of embarrassment and frustration not really knowing how to even begin the process. I think I felt like the manly thing to do would be to figure it out on my own. The irony is that this is one of those rights of passage that really is supposed to be taught.

Like a family tradition, it is supposed to be treated as a special season in the life of a young man, and should be handed down carefully from one generation to another. What a huge mistake we make when we assume a cold utilitarianism in our approach to these important

Cool Reads: Knowing God, by J.I. Packer

Karen and I are loving this book!
I collect books with a high and lofty goal in doing so … to read them. But it pains me to admit that many an amazing book still lays lonely and unread on my book shelf. One of these specimens of neglect has now been pulled off the shelf and Karen and I are reading it together. And it is a tragedy that a book this wonderful has sat so close to me for so long without receiving the respect it so clearly deserves!

Knowing God has stood the test of time for the last 40 years. It continues to be as relevant and beautiful now as it did four decades ago, in part because the subject matter (the Triune God) is himself eternally interesting, and also because it is so well written.

I leave you with a few excerpts from the beginning of the book and my hope is that if you want to know God better you will not miss the time tested insights of this book.

In Chapter one Williamson begins to answer the foundational question: "Who needs Theology?"

“... Knowing God is crucially important for the living of our lives. As it would be cruel to

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Painting Without Hands

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Junior Leadership Conference 2012/2013

Practical and Fun Leadership Training for guys ages 12-18, January 2-4, 2012
Join me at The Junior Leadership Conference January 2-4, 2013 and learn practical leadership skills from amazing speakers while having loads of fun with our teen guys!

We challenge our young men to be Christian Leaders but often leave them wondering exactly how to do so. This conference provides practical strategies to help equip young men for their important call to Christian leadership.

In an action packed setting this three day event helps equip young men to pursue Christ-like leadership. Team building, games, small group Bible studies, leadership seminars, service opportunities and a challenging and a practical keynote speaker are topped off by seriously amazing food.

No one attending this conference will leave without being better equipped to lead, inspired to serve, and very well fed! 

It is NOT necessary that the young men attending be involved in a CSB program. The event is open to any young man between the ages of 12 and 18. If you are younger than 12 you must be recommended by a Brigade senior leader, pastor, or you can contact me to discuss. davidbgregg@hotmail.com

Download the Registration Form

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

THE VERSE - For the 2012 Father/Son Team Day

1 Peter 5:6-11

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 

Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 
To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen."

If you haven't attended before you should know that the memory verse is weighted heavily. If you do well on the verse it can help you significantly toward bringing home a trophy!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Father/son Team Day - What to Bring and Other helpful Stuff

Click here for more event information
For those of you who will be attending the Father/Son Team Day we are really excited that you have chosen to make the time to spend with your sons! Below are a few more details to help you prepare. 

Let me know if you have any questions.

Good Item To Bring:
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera 
  • Hat
  • Water Bottle

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Take The Poll: Can the Greggs Pull off the Cowboy Hat look?

Help us decide if these city slickers can make the transition into authentic valley life ...

  Can the Greggs Pull of the Cowboy Hat look?

Calendar - Regional and Unit Events

Family Update - September 2012

Hannah During our morning devotions on the Father/DaughterCanoe Trip

We are days away from the summer officially giving way to fall, and it would be an understatement to call this past summer "busy."
  • We traveled 6000 miles
  • Programmed and/or participated in 10 camps and trips
  • Trained and discipled 12 junior counselors who in turn discipled countless other boys and young men (following the example of 2 Timothy 2:2).  
  • We encouraged, equipped, and challenged father's to lead and love their families
  • Boys and young men came to know Christ, and we challenged many more to live lives  fully committed to Christ.
This is also my first September as a full time regional director so the weeks that I've been home have been packed with meeting the men and ministerial staff who will be heading up the CSB discipleship programs at their local churches this fall.

These men are amazing! They sacrifice their limited time and energy because they

Ministry Stories ... God Used My Sin

Yup! We had a great time even when things didn't go quite right!
I am thankful that my God is not stymied, thwarted or bewildered by our  sin. He truly does work all things together for the good of those that love Him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). I found that out personally this summer when I saw God flip my own sin on its head.

I love outdoor trips because they tend to provide an effective and special opportunity for relationship building and discipleship. In theory this means I am supposed to be likeable and set a good example for the young men on the trip. But like my family knows, if you spend any length of time with me you will find out just how truly human I am.

The white water canoe trip is the first camp I led this summer. As you might expect this trip can at times be a bit stressful. Swift moving water is dangerous and requires fast decisions and fast reaction. At the speed that the water was moving this particular day the force of the water was equivalent to 24 elephants bearing down on our boats.

That day I had a young man in the front of my boat who'd been having some confidence trouble. I've known Travis for three years now. He is among that all too common list of cultural casualties. His dad isn't around and his step dad is distant when he isn't verbally abusive. So I had a great chance to

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cool Reads -- Shepherding A Child's Heart, By Tedd Tripp

The oldest two of my children are about to leave childhood behind. Josh will be 13 in less than 5 months and Hannah is right behind him. Some of you might think it odd that Karen and I went back and read this book again. But we are both so glad that we did.

It has been a great reminder of principles and approaches that are vital if we are to be successful in not simply raising law keeping little robots but young men and women who have a vital relationship with Christ and seek to obey because they desperately love Him and are thankful for who He has made and is making them.

If you have children and it has been more than a couple years since you boned up on what you already know about parenting don't miss this opportunity. Grab this book, humble yourself, read it, genuinely listen, and then apply what you read no matter how painful. There is no greater task for a parent than to shepherd your child's heart.

To read other reviews of this book and to purchase click here.

Father/Son Team Day October 6th

Let us know you are coming on Facebook
This annual event on October 6th 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 and making unforgettable memories together.
• 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 will be awarded
• Bar-B-Que lunch provided
Download the Registration Form

Our speaker this year is Bill Heyne, former assistant Sheriff of Stanislaus County and Pastor at Central Valley Presbyterian Church. You won't want to miss his message regarding what the Bible has to say about fathers and sons.

Time and Location
The competition begins at the Kiwanis Youth Camp in La Grange, CA (Near Modesto) at 8:30 on

Prayer Requests

Thank you for praying for  our family's ministry. Here are some things that we'd love for you to remember in prayer for us:

2013 CSB Staff Conference
The annual staff conference is this coming week. (March 16-23) I'm flying to Buffalo, NY. Please pray that this conference continues to be as productive and edifying as the proceeding ones.

Jenness Park
I am preparing to speak at a Father/Son Camp at Jenness Park Christian Camp May 3-5. Please pray for my preparation as well as that the attendees come with hearts ready to hear the message.

ISI Men's Conference Follow-up
I just spoke at an Iron Sharpens Iron Men's conference this past Saturday. God gave me the chance to speak to between 75 and 100 dads who were each interested in learning how to better speak to their sons. Please pray that they took home valuable tools and that they have the courage and streangth to actually put these tools into practice.

New Churches
I have had the privilege recently of being contacted out of the blue by churches that want to help their men disciple the boys and young men in their congregation and would like CSB Ministries to help them in that regard. Please pray that God would bless me as I seek to help equip them and that the men in each church would have a bold and clear vision for how to accomplish this vital task in their church.

New Materials

We are releasing one new module for our 3rd-6th grade discipleship materials. Please pray that we can continue to meet this target.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Mormon ... and His Dr. Pepper

"Remove God and your life is as meaningless as a can of soda."
Curtis is a 17 year old convert to Mormonism who my pastor George met in the park next to our church. He's been in the foster system since he was five and has been bounced around between 30 homes over the past 12 years. He's understandably a mixed up young man. George has had conversations with Curtis about Christianity over the past few weeks but Curtis has been fairly combative.

This past Sunday George saw him sitting alone on a bench again and so we both walked over and engaged him in conversation. After a few minutes George had to excuse himself from the conversation but it continued chugging along at a pretty fast clip with Curtis zealously articulating Mormon doctrine.  

All of a sudden he hit the conversational brakes and turned down a side street (there were no blinkers to warn me). It happened so fast I almost missed it. "I'm about this close to leaving the church anyway" he casually blurted out. "Huh???" Was my reply. Not very articulate I know, but I was confused. He explained that since his conversion six months ago he'd had doubts. "I think I'm just going to go back to how it was before. Just my own ideas about God."

"Really?" I inquired. This struck me as ironic. "I'm not sure that's such a good idea. If you go that route you'd be making the same mistake that Adam and Eve made and that resulted in the huge mess we're in today. They wanted to rebelliously try to mold God in their own image too. They wanted to figure out right and wrong on their own. And what resulted is the self-centered sin that ultimately bounced you into 30 homes over the past 12 years and that has resulted in all the other evil that has plagued the world since. You'd be falling into the same trap that they fell into and into which we all now fall apart from salvation in Jesus Christ. You'd be advocating the philosophy of idolatry that got us into this ugly mess."  

"But I'm not even sure I believe in God." He lobbed back.

I'd been eyeing his Dr. Pepper covetously the whole conversation. Suddenly that Soda seemed to be more than just a delicious beverage and source of my personal sanctification, it became a good object lesson. Taking my cue from Douglas Wilson in his debate with Christopher Hitchens (go to minute

Leadership Practice ... The Camporal

Each year in the spring young men in junior high and high school in our battalion ministries have a chance to practice the skills of leadership in the context of competition.

This is always a wonderful event to watch, as young men learn to lead and to follow. Where they see their strengths blossom and God shows them areas of weakness.

Examples from my own experience 20 years ago:
  1. I learned to listen to wise counsel the hard way as a 13 year old when I cut the tip of my finger off with a hatchet during a fire building competition because I thought I could dismiss the counsel of an older man.  
  2. I learned my tendency toward impatience in the midst of hardship as the 5 guys on my squad were trying to race around a course all standing on the same two 2X4 wooden boards. That required teamwork and my attitude didn't help.
  3. I learned the importance as well as some of the finer points of hospitality in the life of the Christian as we cooked and served adult leaders as a part of the competition.  

To view some more pictures click here.

COOL READS ... Redemption -- Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. 

The theme of redemption stretches across all the pages of God's story. Jesus came to redeem his people. To free them from slavery to sin. But how should we understand and respond when certain sins seem to maintain a hold on us that we can't shake?

In this book Mike Wilkerson weaves together the story of Israel's exodus from Egypt with contemporary stories of people's redemption from sin. He does a spectacular job of maintaining constant contact with the Gospel while at the same time challenging us to respond to the freedom purchased for us by Christ in worship. Worship is after all the very purpose for which we were created.

It's a refreshing and challenging approach to killing our hangups without appealing to modern secular psycho-babble or the all to common warmed over christian versions of that same babble.

To read other reviews of this book and to purchase click here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Prayer Requests 5/23/2012

Thank you for praying for  our family's ministry. Here are some things that we'd love for you to remember in prayer for us:

I met with a pastor in the Sacramento area who is interested in how we can help them disciple the boys and young men in their congregation. Please pray for the pastor as he meets with the key men's leadership team to cast the vision and to plan.

I had a great meeting with a church in the Modesto area that we already work with but they have some great ideas for growing their discipleship ministry. Please pray that God blesses their work over the next couple of months.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Kindness Of God

It is a good thing when we prepare to come to the Lord's table that we take a moment to reflect on the character of the God who has set the table before us.

We often times have a really difficult time seeing the world clearly. Actually, the problem is worse. We usually get everything backwards. We emphasize what ought not to be emphasized. We identify problems where there really aren't any and miss the real issues. We do this because we still look at the world through eyes affected by sin. We do this because we lack eyes of faith. We do this because perfect clarity will only come when we can finally look back on the world from the perspective only the finish line provides.

So seeing life properly takes some shaking off the faithless scales of the flesh. And when we do, suddenly we realize just how backwards we've been. We see this in our doubts about God's existence. In our pride we look around at this world and we suggest that God should provide just a bit more evidence for his existence. The irony is that the problem is NOT that there is not enough evidence for His existence, quite the contrary, the problem is that He's provided far too much evidence. We get so used to the marks of his artistry popping up everywhere that we seem to think they are nowhere. Instead of being floored by the marvelous complexity of the human eye, instead of falling to our knees each time a sunset paints the sky, instead of the beauty of a rose (or even better a rose garden) causing us to cry out in worship, we look over all of this and cry out for evidence. The evidence confronts us in every moment and every crevice of our lives. In the tiniest details and those painted

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Learning from Leia

Sometimes we forget that Christ changes everything. Nowhere is this forgetfulness more apparent than when we forget that the beauty and indispensability of grace is only beautiful and indispensable because we have been the recipients of that gratuitous grace. This grace changes everything. It changes our view of the world, our affections, our idea of what is beautiful, good, true, just, normal, interesting, and possible.

So we must not wonder at those who are still yet strangers and aliens to this grace, that when they hear us talk about salvation by faith apart from any effort of our own they often look at us with confused stares or explode in incredulity at the foolishness and injustice of this scheme.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Masculinity rightly lived out: Beautiful ... never cute

Super Novas, a snowflake, a midwest thunderstorm, and the intricate interdependence of the human eye are examples of features of our experience that are beautiful but that should never be mistaken for being "cute."

The same goes for masculinity rightly lived out.

 This video is another example of something that is beautiful but should never be mistaken for "cute." Great cinematography speaks volumes in this film short without one word uttered.

Manhood from Hazardous Journeys on Vimeo.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Flower Put Me In My Place

I was a pretty aimless college student. I considered lot's of different degrees. For about  week I considered landscape architecture. I only went to one class. About halfway through the first class they were talking a lot about sketching. I am terrible at drawing. I had one shining artistic moment in Mrs. Vanda's 1st grade class. Kids were coming from all over the room to ask for my advice on drawing elephants. My art career began and ended in that moment.

By the time I reached college I had no pretensions regarding my art ability. I raised my hand knowing that my question would probably cause all the upper class-men surrounding me to look at me like I was stupid but ... whatever. When my suspicions regarding their reaction and the necessity of an ability to sketch were confirmed I immediately dropped the class. I replaced it with tractor driving. Seriously.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gregg Family Ministry Update - February 2012

It's been an amazing two months! We're now officially in full time ministry, we celebrated Bob Nass' 35 years of faithful service with CSB, we hosted 40 young men at this years Junior Leadership Conference, and God has blessed us with new families to come alongside, to challenge and to encourage with the Good News.

I'll admit it's easy to get discouraged when we see the crumbling culture around us but being on the front lines of ministry we're able to see first hand that God is still active and I am more hopeful now than ever. If you don't believe me take a look at the ministry story below of a 13 year old who has learned a lesson most grown men never learn. We've also provided some camping and trip opportunities for Dad's, sons, and some adventure trips for young men this summer. My book suggestion this month is for anyone interested in a short book for anyone interested in a clear explanation of christian masculinity and a great resource for dads who want a resource to help them disciple their sons.

Camps and Trips this Summer

Camping and trip opportunities for Dad's, sons, and young men

Ministry Stories: KERBLAAM!!!

You ever think things are fine and then ... KERBLAAM!!! Suddenly you find yourself in the middle of a mess?  

Matt thought everything was fine too. He was happily playing Foosball ignorant that a storm had been brewing around him until his youth pastor, Dan, called him aside and unexpectedly smacked Matt upside the head with a problem.

Dad's can be momma bears too and Dan believed that Matt had been ostracizing and isolating his son. This was not what Matt had expected at all. He thought that he was on great terms with Dan. Matt stood there dumbfounded with eyebrows raised in surprise feeling really defensive. The way the whole thing went down made it feel a bit like a blindside and the conversation was left as so many confrontations are ... awkward, no resolution, Matt feeling really defensive. Ripe for bitterness.  

Cool Reads: FUTURE MEN

Yeah ... there's a lot of books out there on raising boys. So I thought I'd save you the trouble of weeding through them yourself. Though there are some other good one's out there this is definitely one of my first picks.

First, Wilson does what few authors have done successfully if at all. He takes time to define exactly what masculinity is and he grounds it Biblically.

Secondly, he starts where we all should start, by recognizing that growing boys into men is accomplished with the same faith that a farmer employs when he sows seed in the ground. That faith is patient and is not directed toward the boy but toward God.

Lastly he is, as always, both abundantly practical, refreshingly biblical, and funny. It's a joy to read. To read other reviews of this book and to purchase click here.