Category Archives: Being a Father

Hijacked!!

The cross effect blog has been respectfully ‘hi-jacked’ for the next 8
weeks as Mr. Chad takes his spring break. Those teachers, they get all
the perks!

In the next 7 weeks, we’ll be previewing a book, chapter by chapter,
titled “7 Men and the Secret of their Greatness” by Eric Metaxas.
Each week I will unveil the next great man.  I hope you enjoy reading
about some of Christianity’s most courageous figures.

But first, a few words on how we can prepare to fight, especially with
the onset of warmer weather.  We all need to vigilant in the area of
sexual purity but as the weather warms and the layers of womens’
clothing become less, we need to be extra vigilant. Let’s prepare now
as this battle is imminent. Whether you choose to ‘bounce’ your eyes
or you have made a covenant with our Heavenly Father, lets all be
prepared to fight.

Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around
like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  1 Peter 5:8

We know that sin can be very attractive and, at times, downright
intoxicating.  But the damage lasts a lot longer than any stolen
moment of pleasure.  Sexual sin distorts your thinking, defiles your
body, disrupts your relationships and defeats your testimony. As P Dan
recently preached on; would we take that lustful look at someone or
screen if Jesus was standing behind us?

Lets all live for Jesus, doing the right thing today, then do the same tomorrow!

Shared by: Doug Ross

Fighter

And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” (Nehemiah 4:14)

I’ve gotten soft.  My relatively simple life has caused me to get physically and spiritually soft. Things were very different long ago when a man had to directly work for his food.   I’d say there were less distractions back then to pull focus away from God.   I reckon that if I lived back in the times of 1:1 combat with swords or duals with guns, my focus would have been much greater on assuring that I was ready to fight and protect in a seconds notice.

I do not think that most men (myself included) are near the kind of man we were designed to be.  Most of us are workers… not warriors.  Lovers… not fighters.  Lovers of so much that is not of God or eternal significance, not apt to fight for the things we were designed to stand for.  For the most part, each of us are living the good life.  We each have our own life challenges, but for the most part we have it GOOD!

There are so many around us who are hurting so badly inside as they try to make it through life without any knowledge or understanding of Jesus’ love for them.  I remember those days and they were absolutely horrible.  But there was 1 man who refused to give up on me… he lived the life of a Christian and took seriously his job of praying and witnessing to me.   It’s so easy to focus on everything else in our life… so easy, to fall into the trap of developing a relationship with God that focuses on just “thanking” him for the blessings He’s provided.  So easy to forget that we are to focus on spreading the message of God’s love.  To do this places us in a battle for which we must be ready.

In 2 days (March 13th) we will be having our first ever “Fight Club Kick-Off.”  Fight Club was designed to help men become the kind of man God has called them to be.  I’ll mention and invite you again to join us at 10:00 pm this Friday night.  This is for men who are serious about strengthening their relationship with God.  It is a program unlike anything you’ve ever seen before and it will undoubtedly have a profound impact on your life…. which will have an impact on the lives of others around you.  We need men to step up and be a “Fighter” for what truly matters most.  Blessed is Best!!

 
Shared by Chad Hellenthal

Don't be Batman

A few months ago I was focused on the “masks” that most men wear.  As a quick summary and reminder, I believe that many Christian men act as if they have no struggles, problems, or concerns.  If you desire to hear more about this topic I’ll encourage you to find the blog posting entitled “Masked Men” found within the Cross Effect website.  There is no doubt however that men do this… I do this… you probably do too.  Let us now look at the consequences of our actions upon our life.

We’re likely all familiar with the Armor of God described in Ephesians 6.  Have you ever noticed that the armor has no kind of facial covering?  The armor we are to wear provides spiritual protection in our lives.  God gave us all the armor we need, however many of us try to protect ourselves by developing our own facial covering in the form of a mask that keeps people from knowing who we really are.    We decide to shield our faces and reveal who we really are versus carrying the Shield of Faith that God has given us.  When the Shield of Faith is forsaken, it makes us more vulnerable to the fiery darts of the devil and leaves oneself more prone to spiritual attack physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  It’s kind of hard to be the man our family needs us to be if this is how we live our life…. all because of a mask.

Wearing a mask, revealing a sinful lifestyle, covering the light of the Holy Spirit is not a minor matter.  It is to flirt with spiritual disaster both for yourself and the eternity of others.  If we picture ourselves kneeling before God on the day of the Judgement Seat of Christ with our current lifestyle in hand.  Would you regret it?  Are you wearing a mask and covering the light of God within you?  Are you causing others to stumble because you’re in open rebellion? Or is your breastplate of righteousness shining God’s light to the lost?  Hypocrisy and sinful living should be dispensed of!

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (I John 2:15-16)

A real man does not wear a mask.  He understand the importance of standing honestly before God and man.  We were created to be this kind of man but the world wages war against us constantly.  On March 13th we have an opportunity to assemble and take steps to become this kind of man together.  I’d encourage you to go to crosseffect.org and sign up of our Kick-off event.  Prepare to Fight!

 
Shared by Chad Hellenthal

Wanted Man

“The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…” (2nd Chronicles 16:9)

God wants men to step up and be what He designed and called them to be.  That’s the bottom line…. really nothing more to it.  We were designed to be warriors and leaders, but instead many are dragged into the pit of follower and complacency.  Our own world becomes self-centered and ruled by self-indulgence.  We quickly choose to follow our careers, hobbies, and lusts more passionately than we follow our God.  Our goals in life are seldom focused on God, instead they’re typically directed on all the other things we want in life…. the things we somehow believe we need and deserve.  Yet, God searches the earth for men whose hearts are fully committed to him.  I am not yet that man, are you?

I hear a cry from deep within calling me to become a man that is fully committed to Him.  Do you hear the same cry inside of you?  I believe you do.  If not, it’s likely because you’ve ignored it so long, buried it so deeply under so much that you’ve become deaf to it…. but it calls out nevertheless.  It calls because it was embedded within the design of what man is to be.

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16)

Much of my life has been spent wading around in lukewarm water.  It’s rather comfortable, there is much to keep me entertained and plenty of company.  But a voice keeps crying out from deep within me….   Reminding me that I am a “Wanted Man.”

Men of Palmyra Grace…. you’re going to start hearing a lot about something called “Fight Club.”  It was designed to help you become the man God has called you to be.  Fight Club is for every man, but not all will choose to accept the call.  Some men will be just too busy, some men are just too comfortable.  I say these things in love…. not in anyway to be judgmental or harsh.

Fight Club is not easy.  It’s essentially a 12 week spiritual boot-camp.  It will challenge you spiritually, physically, relationally, academically, and emotionally.  Some that accept the challenge will strike out and not finish, but no doubt they will be a better man for trying.  I’m calling you out! No excuses!  I myself am weak and need like-minded men to stand beside me and FIGHT!!

To prepare for this battle go to crosseffect.org and register for the “Kick-off” event to be held on March 13th.  And yes, it actually does start at 10 p.m. (past my bed time), but that should be no deterrent for man seeking God.  On that night you will have an opportunity to hear more about Fight Club, and then a few days to decide if you’re willing to begin Fight starting March 18th.  I believe you will choose to join us in battle if you can still hear God crying out within you, “You are a wanted man!”

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

Fight, Fight!!!

So many good intentions…

I really do want to be a better husband, father, and friend… to get in better shape… to maintain the sweet, meaningful relationship with the Lord I have tasted…

I yearn for such things.

Unfortunately I rarely fight for these things.

Why is that?  Is it because I fail to realize that there really is a battle?  That there is a battle raging whether I engage in it or not?  It would be much easier if some sinister intruder tried to invade my home.   You can bet I would fight then.  If I hear the door getting kicked in and someone storming into my home he better hope I don’t get my hands on the field hockey stick leaning in the hallway (no idea why that’s there but that’s another story).  I could do some serious damage with it.  Over six feet tall, 300 lbs, and ticked off… I could probably kill someone with that pink field hockey stick.

But in reality the intruder is almost never that concrete or tangible.  They don’t kick in the door and physically threaten me and mine.  Instead it’s the subtle breeze of passivity that blows in the window I forgot to shut, a shadow that slowly creeps across my marriage, a son quietly walking out the door I have failed to fully prepare for what lurks outside.

Recently I was blessed to be part of a group that helped me remember this. Chad, who generally writes this blog, invited me and a couple other guys to be part of a men’s ministry called “Fight Club.”  This ministry reminded us through a variety of challenges to remember that there is a battle, whether we like it or not. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12 it is not a battle with flesh and blood but a spiritual battle.

The group of men encouraged me to resist the passivity that I tend to embrace and called me to stand up instead and engage in this battle.  To fight- to remember that I do not fight alone.  That I must act, we must act.  Together we can reclaim our homes, our families, our churches, and our community.  The clarion call of the “Fight Club” men’s ministry is found in Nehemiah

14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”  Nehemiah 4:14.

Consider joining us as we engage this battle through a new fight club chapter at Palmyra Grace.  Learn more about it Friday night, march 13, 2015.  Come fight along side us.

Sincerely,

Ed “the 300 pound crazy man wielding a pink field hockey stick” Martin

Spiritual Sniper

There is no bigger movie right now than “American Sniper.”  Coincidentally, I’ve been reading a book entitled Sleeping Giants: No Movement of God Without Movement of Men in which several associations are made to another sniper…. the devil.  Allow me to summarize some of the thoughts from the book:

  • A sniper attempts to reduce the enemy’s fighting ability by striking at high-value targets,  subsequently pinning down and demoralizing the enemy.

  • His goal is maximum disruption to enemy operations.

  • Sniper’s will select and shoot their targets in descending order according to rank.

  • A sniper will identify targets by observing behavior which suggests that others depend on him.

  • A sniper works hard to find the right “hide site” or concealed position that gives him the widest view, best camouflage, and clearest line of sight to the target.

  • A good sniper has profound psychological effect on the enemy by inducing constant stress

  • A sniper usually aims at the chest because he depends on maximum tissue damage, organ trauma, and blood loss to make the kill.

For a sniper, rank is synonymous with influence.  And when it comes to the topic of the church, men, and their capacity to deliver help or harm, Satan is no fool.  In fact, the Bible, from this perspective, chronicles a savvy enemy, laying in wait specifically for men, capitalizing on their ignorance of his proximity and presence to take them down.  Satan wisely sees men as leaders, influencers, and game-changing assets in the kingdom battle. He devotes massive resources to culturally lure, recruit, and use men to execute his evil plans in the world.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around

like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1st Peter 5:8)

May I add these thoughts…..   If you are  fighting I’d recommend taking cover.  The cover you need to take is in God, His Word and His promises.  I’ll strongly suggest you not fight alone… have brothers by your side that “got your back!”  Finally, if you’re not getting shot at….  are  you even in the battle?

Blessed is Best!!

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

Nothing Box

At our last men’s breakfast we watched a video clip by Mark Gungor called “The Tale of Two Brains.’’  If you’ve never seen this video it is an absolute MUST SEE because it is so funny and accurate.  In the video Mark speaks of a spot in every man’s brain called the “Nothing Box.” The “Nothing Box” is what allows us to be so happy and content with doing and thinking absolutely nothing.  I myself can totally relate to this and find myself wanting to enter this zone many times after a long day of work or when I’m otherwise stressed because of the seemingly endless cares of this world my mind likes to ponder.

Most women do not have this box, nor do they understand (in anyway) the “Nothing Box.” This can sometimes lead to confusion and troubles as there tends to be nothing that women can stand less than a man that is doing absolutely nothing.  Since watching this video I’ve become convicted about just how broad and encompassing my “Nothing Box” is in so many aspects of my life.

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only,

deceiving yourselves.”  (James 1:22)

Humbly, I’ll admit that when it comes to professional work and goals…..   I’m the Man!  I’ve been blessed with skills and strive to perform in a manner that makes me worthy of my role and title of “Provider.”  Whether I’m teaching or painting, I can work, and work, and work, and work, and work, and work, and work…..

Being the husband, father, friend, and caring Christian person I need to be are often placed in priority right behind my need to spend time in my “Nothing Box.”  I’ve got no excuse because I hear what the Word of God desires that I do in so many areas of my life, I just don’t always do it.  There is a place in our life for the “Nothing Box.”  Sometimes, (most of us) we need to just chill and do something brainless and pointless.  I fear though that many of us spend entirely too much time there, although it may appear that we are doing something, when assessing  the value of or actions it boils down to a worthiness of about  “nothing.”

How big is your “Nothing Box?”  Does it take priority over matters of greater importance?  Is there a wife in your life that could use a few extra minutes of your attention and service?  A kid that needs you to help him improve his basketball shooting form or learn to catch a ball? An acquaintance or friend that is dying to have someone show them the love of Christ through your simple actions and expressions?  A savior that needs to hear you say and ask, “I love you, what can I do for you?”  If you fail to ponder these questions in your own heart, you may be guilty of choosing to do absolutely nothing about the things in life that mean absolutely everything.   Blessed is Best.

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

Dead Chickens

A special treat for you today brothers as Doug Ross shares his heart in this blog post.  May it bless you as it blessed me.  It was great to hear from another brother.  Please let us know if you ever have something you’d personally like to share.

Well, another great weekend of bonding with men, old friends and new alike.  We heard some awesome testimonies, shot cool weapons, played games, ate spectacular grub, took down tall trees, and most importantly (spiritually) fed!! 

It’s Monday morning and reuniting with my wife did not go so sweetly, hopefully yours went better with your loved ones, girlfriends and family.  I went to my in-laws and forgot to serve my wife while she had gotten all our kids lunches ready.  I took care of only myself.  But I was tired,  as if she wasn’t…  she’s the one who parented all weekend.  I got to nap Saturday afternoon and also nodded off Sunday afternoon watching football, poor me.  When it was time to re-connect that night in bed, I was given the ‘Heisman’…  and rightfully so.  I had forgotten all I had learned, especially the lesson about us serving our wives.  I failing miserably.  I wrote an apology and will verbalize it tonight.  All I can do is be sincere, hope for forgiveness, and reunite the way God intended it… two becoming one.
 
So it’s back to work, home, and job.  At home we need to be the spiritual leaders, the catalysts.  We need to protect our family both spiritually and physically. We need to pray.  
 
My specific job today is to dispose of a dead chicken that my dog (puppy) killed this morning.
 
So to recap we need to:
1. Serve our wives/loved ones
2. Shepherd our kids
3. Get rid of dead chickens, in my case literal, you can take it figuratively.
 

“Mess of Me”
Lyrics by Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman (Switchfoot)
I am my own affliction
I am my own disease
There ain’t no drug that they could sell
Ah, there ain’t no drug to make me well

There ain’t no drug
It’s not enough
There ain’t no drug
The sickness is myself

I made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I’ve made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive

We lock our souls in cages
We hide inside our shells
It’s hard to feed to the ones you love
Oh, when you can’t forgive yourself
Yeah, forgive yourself

There ain’t no drug
There ain’t no drug
There ain’t no drug
The sickness is myself

I made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I’ve made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive

I’ve made a mess of me
I wanna reverse this tragedy
I’ve made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my live alive
The rest of my life alive

They (Switchfoot) are a Christian band but don’t mention Jesus in their lyrics, not that they are ashamed to proclaim it – they are speaking to the masses.
(That’s my take)

 

Masked-Men

“And no creature is hidden from his sight, but we are all naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13)

I’m guilty of wearing a mask.  For those of you that know me…. you do not REALLY know me. My life is not as perfect as it may seem on the outside.  I’m likely not as strong of a Christian man as you might perceive me to be.  I’ve been trying to remove my mask for the last year but am discovering it is a mask of many layers.  My mask has protected me from an unaccepting world.  It has become a barrier to protect myself and others.  Although I wear my mask, I long for others to just be honest and straight with me.  I am Chad.   I am in many ways a hypocrite.

Hypocrites wear masks for many reasons:

To give people around them an impression.

To hide internal hurts.

To keep guard, a protection from anticipated pain

To make people think we’re strong when we’re really weak.

To find acceptance and flee rejection.

To cover up our shame for who we really are.

If I know you personally I’ve also likely lied to you.  You know that time I passed you in the halls of church and told you I was “doing good” when you asked me how it was going?  That was just my built in “auto-response.”  Part of the problem is that I don’t want you to perceive me as weak or vulnerable, it’s just not very manly.  Another concern of mine is that you will judge me and possibly tell others.

Deep down I want to be able to be honest and confide in you.  I understand that not every man will naturally connect with every other man, but we each need a few men in our lives that we can be real with.  For this to happen we need to get to know each other, the more we share the more masks we are likely to remove.  We are instructed to “bear one another’s burdens,”  how can we do this if we do not share them with each other.

I believe this issue is one of the biggest challenges facing men in church today.  We lack that, desire, opportunity, and ability to form strong relationships with other Christian men.  I’m not talking about making friends or having hobby buddies… I’m referring to accountability partners, mentors, and disciples.  Men that we can be 100% open and honest with about anything we are thinking, facing, or struggling with in our life.

 
Do you wear a mask?  Do you pass me in the halls and tell me that everything is “ok” when you’re honestly struggling, confused, or hurting?  I believe there are few things you can do as a Christian man more powerful that opening up to another man.  Exercise wisdom in what and with whom you share information but do not let this be a fear that prevents you from being real with others.  Ask God to help you develop these kinds of relationships with other men if you do not already have them.  It’s a special kind of relationship that every man should have.  Understand however that it will never happen if you refuse to be willing to remove your mask. Blessed is Best!!

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

I recently read a news article about a man in Georgia who accidentally left his 22-month-old child in his car while he went into work, resulting in the death of the child.  This man was supposed to drop his child off at daycare but obviously there were other things on this man’s mind.  We have all forgotten things, made bad decisions, mistakes…. This however will undoubtedly change this man’s life forever.  He will have a lot of time to think about this as he sits in jail without bond, facing a murder charge with an added felony of cruelty to children in the first degree.  “What have I done? What have I done? I’ve killed our child!”  were the words witnesses heard him scream after trying to resuscitate his child.

For some reason I believe this father loved his child dearly.  I have no actual proof, but I can just vision the moments of him playing peek-a-boo, changing diapers, and making funny faces… in every way trying to provide security, protection, and love for his child.  There is no love like that between a parent and a child.  I cant help but to wonder what was on this man’s mind as he drove to work that made him forget his son was in his car?  Was it work?  Did he have a fight with his wife?  Was he in horrible debt? Did him mom develop cancer?  We will never know what he was thinking about… May I be so bold as to propose what I do not believe he was thinking about that morning?  God.  (Reports have since speculated that there is a possibility the father may have intentionally left his kid in the car)

I’m going to speculate here, attempting not to judge as I do not know the relationship this man may have with the Lord.  It is just that the Bible is filled with scriptures of God’s protection for those who love Him.  This is not to say that nothing bad will ever happen to a God fearing person.  I just want to make this point so that we can understand the importance of being in a right relationship with God to help provide security and protection for our family.  Here are just 2 of the many, many scriptures that refer to God being our protector.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge — no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. (Psalm 91:9-10)

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusts in thee. (Psalm 84:11-12)

The other night I was not feeling well, this caused me to wake up around 1:00 am and headed downstairs to get in the hot tub.  (This tends to make me temporarily feel better and allows me to fall back to sleep easily)  As I hopped in the hot tub I could heard rumblings of thunder nearby, soon a drizzle began to fall.  Laying in the water, beginning to pray, I heard a small voice say “sunroof.”  I immediately remembered that my son had driven my truck and left the sunroof open, I jumped out and ran to my truck…. beating the downpour by mere seconds.   Ironically, this event occurred on the same day that this man left his child in the car.  I’d give my truck and much more for this man to have back his son.  I can’t help but to wonder if God tried to warn him also, but he was unable to hear His voice because of so many things going through his mind.  This too is a question of which we cannot answer.

How many times does God try to help us, yet we are so preoccupied with everything but him that we are rendered deaf to hearing Him?  Psalm 91:14, “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;  I will protect him, because he knows my name.”  We are told in Isaiah 41:10 “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Similarly, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runs into it, and is safe. Proverbs 18:10.  We could go on and on, but you get the point.  We are safest, our family is safest, when we as men dwell with God in a right relationship.  Do not underestimate this.

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. Psalm 18:30

Blessed is Best!!

Shared by Chad Hellenthal