Saturday, October 18, 2014

Spiritual Whac-A-Mole

I ran across this quote a moment ago from John Owen, an amazing old Puritan, 
"Let not that man think he makes any progress in holiness who walks not over the bellies of his lusts. He who doth not kill sin in his way takes no steps towards his journey’s end. He who finds not opposition from it, and who sets not himself in every particular to its mortification, is at peace with it, not dying to it.” 
(From his book Mortification of Sin In Believers). 

My interpretation: As sin steps into your path dispatch it with all the urgency of a carnival game. Spiritual Whac-a-Mole.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ministry Update: October 2014

I often get asked, "Is the busy season over?" I understand the motivation for the question. Summers

are crazy busy. Often camps end one day and begin the next. It is common in the hours between trips to be out shopping for food while load after load of laundry is agitating away, trailers are being disemboweled and re-stuffed with gear for the next trip, and teenage guys are draped over every conceivable surface in our house.

The "Busy" Question Answered:
But the busyness doesn't end, it simply transmogrifies. As September rolls around our ministry shifts from discipleship in the camp setting to helping equip men in local churches to disciple the boys and young men in their churches on a weekly basis. This involves visits to churches, meetings with men, projects for the national CSB office, preparing for regional events (like the Leadership Advance in January), in addition to the personal discipleship that I have the privilege of doing with dads and young men.

Two New Highschoolers:
In addition to the demands of ministry, "normal" life continues to take place. We started homeschooling Hannah and Josh as freshmen in September which means that the expectations and standards have been raised for both the kids and the parents teaching them. Salvos of repentance back and forth have become common place in the Gregg Family battle for sanctification.

Continuing to Beat the Cancer:
We are also really happy to report that after the first exam in about two years the radiation oncologist sees no evidence that the cancer has returned (see the picture above). Karen is going to have an MRI done to confirm that the cancer is still too beat-up to make a second appearance but for now we continue to rejoice.

The Next Event:
Another successful Father/Son Team Day concluded this past Saturday and now I have moved on to planning the details for this year's  Leadership Advance. The theme for 2015: "I Heart Me: Rejecting the 'Selfie' Culture." We'll be focusing on the danger of pride in leadership.

Summer Pictures:
Lastly, if you want to get a taste for some of our trips this past summer there a few albums below  you can view. You can also get a taste for our amazingly wonderful and crazy British relatives who visited in August. I think our day with them in San Francisco was the most fun I can remember having in years. We really didn't stop laughing the whole day!

In Christ,
Dave Gregg

Book Recommendation: Desiring God, By John Piper

Are Duty and Delight really supposed to be at odds?
Meditations of a Christian Hedonist

This book was, well, for lack of a better term ... delightful!

It helped me to understand how to reconcile two biblical ideas that I've often struggled with. How are my desires and God's glory supposed to live together.

I thought, at least deep down, that to a great extent I could have one or the other, but that they could never live together in my life at the same time.

I thank John Piper for this book that helped me understand that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."

 Take a closer look at the book ...

Summer Camp! Mark your Calendar

View camps and trips here
2015 Camps and Trips are posted. Take a look at the camps and trips for next summer and put the dates on the calendar now so you don't forget.

Wilderness Adventure Camp - Leadership Training Backpacking Trip June 12-20  
Aviation Camp:  
June 21-26 
Trinity White Water Canoe:  June 21-27
Junior Counselor Pre-Camp Training: 
July 1-4 
NorCal Boys Adventure Camp:
July 12-18
Father/Son Camp: 
July 12-15 
Father/Daughter Camp: 
July 15-18 
Base Camp (Intro to Trip Camping):  
July 5-10 
SoCal Boys Adventure Camp:July 20-25
Father Daughter Canoe:  July 29-Aug 1  
Scuba Camp (Advanced Open Water):  
July 26-31 
Surf Camp:
Aug 2-8  

Take a closer look ...

Fun Pictures From the Summer

Surf Camp Pics
Canadian Canoe Pics
Crazy British Relative Pics

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

When she doesn't love you back

Most of us have felt the pain of loving someone who has refused to love us back even if this was just the transient and loosely rooted puppy love of elementary school soap operas. There are, however, deeper loves that can leave profound scars.

When my friend and his wife followed the calling of God to begin providing foster care for infants, the fear of unrequited love was the farthest thing from their minds. Infants are not emotionally dangerous. They love you if you hold them, feed them, and de-poopify them. But my friends’ emotionally sterile plans were soon plopped into the diaper-pale of good intentions as God placed a very non-infant older girl into their home.

Things quickly got messy. Yeah … there were the typical messes that, like rotting fruit off a tree past its season, drop from every orifice and appendage of small children. Cheerios once again found their way onto the car floorboards and into previously unknown upholstery crevices. However, the messiness that really mattered was the conflicting emotions and deep attachments that rapidly began to grow in their hearts toward this child. They began to fall in love and there was no promise that she could stay.

Our love for another person is no guarantee that they will love us back, and in the messy and dysfunctional dynamics of most foster care relationships the children have an understandable reluctance to bond with their care providers. This is because foster children often feel that to love their foster parents is to betray their birth mom and dad.

This dynamic played itself out with agonizing textbook predictability between my friend and his

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Father/Son Team Day 2014 Memory Verse

Take a look at the Father/Son Team Day
For you go-getters, planners, and competitive types, here is this years memory verse for the Father/Son Team day. The memory verse is highly weighted not to mention the most important activity you can do with your son.

 Galatians 5:13-17

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  
14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 
17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Couches on fire

How two young men led their peers away from lust and toward Christ

When God grips the heart of a young man for the purpose of transforming him into material fit for His use, the process is often violent. One moment you see sparks of brilliance and the next you see sparks from the sofa he just chose to turn into a smoke signal to his buddy across the room.

So when a young man approaches me with a “good idea” my kneejerk reaction is to fall into a posture of skepticism and to swiftly but subtlety place myself between these young men and any other innocent targets of their adolescent genius.

My cynicism was dealt a welcome blow in January at the Leadership Advance (JLC), our annual conference for young men. The group of around 60 young men had been broken into smaller groups that for the most part go through the three day event as a small group together.

Two young men in my small group both of whom I have had the privilege of discipling separately the past few years had hit it off and apparently had got to talking about all that God has done in them the past three years. They are indeed two examples of young men in whom the Spirit has left no area untouched by his winnowing grace.

They came to me with a courageous suggestion. Both of them had been struggling with sexual sin when we first met. But as I have seen time and time again, this sin so deeply rooted, was no match for the strong and kind hands of our triune God. Both of them have seen God work to such an extent that what had enslaved them for so long has been replaced by freedom and a life given over to serving God and others rather than serving themselves.

These two young men wanted to do something crazy. They wanted to share with the guys in their group how they found freedom from their enslavement to lust. They were passionate and serious about sharing not so much about the depth of their struggles but the depth of God’s mercy and the freedom that is so very real at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ. I knew these guys. Yes they are young and are not beyond the occasional indoor smoke signal, but when it comes to their faith they are passionate and sober minded about seeing other young men experience the joy of their salvation. They had come to see the freedom that can only come from allowing Christ to topple the lying adolescent idols that without care are as common to the young man’s heart as weeds are in my garden at home. They wanted passionately to communicate the hope that is available to young men from lips that would carry a special kind of weight. God’s promises are not wishful thinking.

I said yes and prayed that God would be glorified and I wouldn’t be mortified.

What the hell happened?

How the cross makes sense of our suffering

My Friend,

Many young Christians, particularly those growing up in nice Christian homes, avoid or are “protected” from asking uncomfortable but absolutely vital questions about God, the world, and themselves. You landed on one of the most important and one of the most thorny of those questions yesterday.

“What do you say to someone who knows there is a God, but doesn’t feel that he or she can trust that God because of the pain they have experienced?”

When I set all of the potential answers to this problem aside one another, however, I really do think that unless we center our answer around the cross of Christ it won’t matter how “right” the answer is, the truth will taste like ash in our mouths. The cross is the climax of human history, it changed the world, it was indeed the solution to the problem of sin, and it is the answer to our suffering and the suffering of those around us. The cross is the only answer that can satisfy our deepest needs, including the need to make sense of our pain.

In this regard I want to take a moment to reiterate what I said in answer to your question on Monday in hopes that it will give you something more clear to chew on and consider.

Let me start with a story that I hope will provide an analogy that may begin to provide some clarity.