Building great people, because great people build great families and great families build great communities.
To God be the glory!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Today, we're going to talk about men. However, this doesn't mean our sisters should tune out, they might learn something.

Average Christian congregations in Canada will draw an adult congregation that is 61% female and 39% male. About 24% of married women attend without their husbands. Sadly, the majority of men, who actually show up for services are there in body only. Their hearts just aren't in it. In general women are the participators, men the spectators. Thankfully this is not the case with our fellowship - we must ensure that it stays that way.

Consider that our faith was founded by a man and his twelve male disciples. So why do Christian churches around the world experience a chronic shortage of males? Why are church-going men so hesitant to really live out their faith, when men of other religions willingly die for their faith?

Interestingly many churches don't mind having more women than men. After all, women are the key to having a smooth running congregation. Women keep the activity machine going, they sing in the choir, care for the children, teach the classes, cook for the potlucks and serve on the committees.

But over the long term, a lack of men, real men will doom a congregation. If you want a healthy church for the long haul it's been proven, you have to attract men. Jesus' strategy still works today. But there's one little problem. Men don’t like going to church. Quite a few men go to church only to keep their wives, mothers or girlfriends happy.

Churches around the world are short on men. No other major religion suffers from a shortage of males. In the Islamic world, men are openly, publicly, unashamedly religious. Of the world's major religions, only Christianity has a consistent, nagging shortage of real men.

The Old Testament shows that two entire nations were taken into captivity because the men turned their backs on God. But, there was one group of men that proved their faith. I Chronicles 9:10 Of the priests: Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, and Jachin… v13 and their brethren - 1760 they were found to be able men for the work of the service of the house of God.

God called and is still calling able men to serve Him.
The problem is, it's getting harder and harder to find men who’ stand against the cultural norm and say, "as for me and my house, we will serve God."

God is still looking for able men who will put on the armor of God, take up the sword of the spirit, and fight the good fight of faith.

There are four attributes of a man of God. These four points can also be attributed to women, but I'm focusing more from the male perspective.


God is looking for Available, able men. It doesn't matter what abilities you possess, if you're not available to God, you're useless to the cause.

Isaiah 6:8 I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I send me."

Isaiah gave himself completely to God, and completely to His cause. It was a ready response – "here I am, send me." It was a faithful response. He didn't specify where or when, he just wanted to be sent to do the work of the Lord here.

We often look at men like Isaiah, Abraham, Moses, David, Paul and many others as men with tremendous abilities. But the truth is, they were men, just like you and me.

They were ordinary men who made themselves available for Almighty God. God then did amazing things through them. What it is, is a matter of commitment, being there, being available and being committed to what God wants you to do.

So many today are not available. Men in society have put up the "Do Not Disturb" sign when it comes to their church attendance.

Far too many things going on, they just don't have the time to serve God and His people.

So I have to ask, "Do you have too many irons in the fire? Are you too busy? Do you feel like you can't catch up?

I Kings 18:19-21 Elijah was told to go and present himself to Ahab. And he knew it wasn't a safe thing to do, but he made himself available anyway. He did so and set up this challenge with the prophets of Baal. But there were others that day that sat on the sidelines, as spectators waiting to see what would happen. So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. And Elijah came to all the people… not just the prophets, but to all the people there of Israel, and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him."
But the people answered him not a word…nothing.

Nobody stepped up, Elijah was alone. Elijah was man enough to stand alone, but the rest were unavailable. Elijah was looking for someone from the nation of Israel man enough to stand up with him. He said, "Is anyone available? Are there any more men that will stand with me against Baal?" But no one would.

2. Dependability (Dependable Able men)

In the Apostle Paul's time, a steward would completely run a property for the owner. These steward's were to be faithful, and dependable. I Corinthians 4:1 consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God….. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

You got to like it when, someone says, "I'll be there." and they are. When they say, "I'll do it" and they get it done.
We like dependable people. People who are faithful to their word. One day Christ will say to His servants, "I knew I could depend on you, thank you for being faithful and dependable."

3. Mobility

Mobile, able men. Men were not created to sit on their spiritual recliners, but rather to actively live and share the good news of the gospel of the kingdom. If we want to do God's work, we have to participate.

In everything we do, God living in us – should be seen.

We have to be about our Father's business. Growing, learning and developing in the grace of God. As Peter told us in II Peter 3:18 "but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…"

Reader's Digest recently asked, "What has six eyes and cannot see?" The winning answer – three men in a house with dirty laundry, with overflowing trash cans and a sink full of dirty dishes.

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem…then He continues… and (but also) in all Judea and Samaria, and…you shall be witnesses of me…to the end of the earth.

Three verses later we read…. Men of Galilee why do you stand gazing up into heaven? Acts 1:11

With the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be actively mobilized as men in God's church. We can be witnesses of His way of life to all corners of the globe.

4. Stability

We are in a spiritual warfare, the world is falling all around us, unless we stand fast, we may fall with it.
How many members of the church have you seen over the years that have not been able to stand for the faith once delivered to them?

How many have become entangled again in the yoke of bondage, overcome by their own human efforts?
I Corinthians 16:13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.

The Modern King James Version puts it this way: Watch, stand fast in the faith, be men, be strong.

God is looking for stability in His congregations. Looking for stable, able men. There is strength and stability that comes from us working together in God's church. Every man needs a band of brothers, friends. And we need strong friendships in the faith. Jesus began His ministry by assembling a team of men.

Men need a band of brothers standing around them.

Why should we be more involved?
Why should we stand fast?
Why should we present a stable foundation in the congregation and in our homes?

Here's one reason – Children with involved fathers are more confident and less anxious in unfamiliar settings, better able to deal with frustration, better able to gain a sense of independence, more likely to become compassionate adults. Children with involved fathers are more likely to have higher self-esteem, more likely to even have a higher grade point average and more sociable. That's in the family, but the same thing can happen in the congregation.

It makes for a more stable congregation when you have stable men involved. God is looking for available, dependable, mobile, stable, able men to stand up, to stand firm, to do His work.

Will you be that man?
Will you be the one who will put on the armor of God?
Will you take up the sword of the spirit, and fight the good fight of faith.
Will you be an able man for the house of God?
Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Will you be an able man in the house of God?

8 of 8 An Angel in Queens

An Angel in Queens: Every weekday, Jorge Munoz starts his shift at 5:15 a.m. He drives a school bus, picking up elementary schoolchildren at a bus stop and dropping them off at a few schools on Long Island in New York. As part of his regular route home, he passes a food factory.
Something always bothered him: "These guys, they were throwing away a lot of food." One day in 2004, Munoz couldn't stand seeing good food go to waste. He pulled over and asked if they would give him the goods. He knew some families having trouble. Two weeks later, he got some food and gave it to about 10 families that didn't have food. Only two people in those families had a job."
The food he received from the factory turned out to be a one-time thing. Munoz scrambled to continue helping the hungry families. He collected small food donations from local businesses, but those weren't enough. He started to use money from his own salary to buy food, brown-bag meals, and handed them out to eight day laborers, three times a week.
The eight soon tripled to 24. A few months later, Munoz and his mother started cooking meals for 45 people in his shoe-box-sized apartment. The economy worsened, and the hungry population grew. More than half of his weekly salary of $700 went to buy food, drinks and packaging.
The act: For the past six and a half years, Munoz has been delivering home-cooked meals every night out of his white Toyota pickup. He has missed only one night, when a snowstorm shut down all lines of transportation. These days, about 140 people -- many of them homeless, jobless immigrants -- line up some times stretching nearly one block.
His makeshift meal program has turned into a well-oiled nonprofit called An Angel in Queens. A handful of volunteers, including his mother and sister, begin prepping the food around 1:30 p.m. When Munoz returns from his day shift, he switches gears from bus driver to good Samaritan, with a 10-minute break for coffee in between.
The volunteers have learned to work in a tight space, shuffling past each other in the apartment turned soup kitchen. The kitchen and living room look more like food pantries, stacked with crates of small juice cartons, produce bags, and trays of hot food. There's always the smell of onions cooking in oil, beans, and meat, but the menu changes nightly, ranging from ham and cheese sandwiches to beans, rice, and chicken. The family multiplies whatever they're having for dinner by 140.
Munoz attributes his motives to "God. God and my mom. My mom since my childhood teach me to share, and that's what we are doing here."
And he shares the family spirit with every person who receives a meal. "They feel like a part of the family. Most of them, they are alone. I got my mom, my sister, my nephew, my friends, a lot of members of my family are out here. But they are alone. But at least they feel like they have a small family taking care of them."
The ripple: Munoz's generosity has been contagious, and his friends and the community have chipped in. "A couple of times a week, I go to collect food from my friends. Some buy extra oil and rice. Other friends, some have restaurants tell me to go pick up extra food they cook," Munoz says. "Whatever I don't have, I go to stores to pick up." In June of 2008 a couple of volunteers helped him set up his website and nonprofit.
Soon word about An Angel in Queens spread through local, national, and international media. The blogosphere blasted his message. His selfless act has been featured in the New York Times, CNN, Univision, and Telemundo. That coverage has inspired the global community to reach out with support: monetary donations, appliances, food, drinks and lots of thanks.
Munoz has received personal recognition as well. Renowned chef Jamie Oliver featured him on his cooking show, "Jamie's American Road Trip." He also got a presidential nod. Munoz, his mother, sister, and nephew visited President Barack Obama at the White House in August and received the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second-highest civilian honor behind the Medal of Freedom.
His biggest reward comes from those he serves. "You have to see their faces, when they smile, that's the way I get paid," Munoz says. "When they smile, I thanks God, this guy got something to eat tonight."

7 of 8 Secret Agent L

Secret Agent L: By day, blogger Laura Miller, 32, worked as an administrative assistant at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her busy workload -- booking schedules, managing projects, and fielding inquiries from students and the public -- didn't allow much time for another important thing she neglected on her to-do list: good will.
The Secret Agent L idea blossomed in July 2009, after she asked one of her blog readers, whom she had befriended, what she wanted for her birthday. Her friend replied, "Don't send me anything; just do a random act of kindness for someone else." Caught up in the excitement, Miller even made Secret Agent L business cards with her blog address on it.
Mission No. 1. Miller attached a homemade business card with thick green ribbon to her first gift, a stem of lavender hydrangea, and left it on a stranger's windshield wiper. The first blog "Unleash the kindness" said Today we start to unleash anonymous acts of kindness and day-brightening all over Pittsburgh.
The act: Her gifts, about $5 to $10 each, fit her admin salary: coffee gift cards, a roll of quarters wrapped in pink and green ribbons at a Laundromat, sunflower bouquets at graves of fallen soldiers on Memorial Day, colourful cards filled with inspirational quotes in public parks and bathrooms.
The first three weeks she carried out and blogged about her mission every day, signing her entries Secret Agent L.
Quickly, words of appreciation filled her inbox. Nearly a month into the project, though, she realized that giving every day would bust her budget. She called for backup and encouraged readers to execute their own secret missions across America.
The ripple: She received a few responses at first, then dozens. Soon, Miller recruited more than 80 worldwide secret agents in Canada, Denmark, Germany, England, Japan, and Mongolia. The clandestine acts were both creative and practical. One agent gathered a note, a coupon, and enough cash to buy a bag of diapers, then left the items at an diaper-changing station in a public bathroom.
Miller blogged about her drop-offs and Affiliate Agents' good deeds. A local Pittsburgh TV news station featured the secret project. Then other TV networks, bloggers, and websites helped her message go viral at, the Huffington Post, Reader's Digest, CNN, and Fox News.
These days, Miller receives about 1,000 daily blog hits, and she's received more than 2,500 email testimonies about these simple, thoughtful, inexpensive gestures. Nathan in Pittsburgh emailed, "I sat down on the park bench next to the package and read the words on the front of the envelope over and again: "For you! Yes ... you!" But, surely, it couldn't have been for me. Why would it be? But then, what if it was...? I was touched by this random act of kindness. Just when I was losing hope in myself and life's purpose, something like this comes along."
George from Massachusetts wrote about finding a card in a restroom on top of Mount Everett, the fifth highest peak in Massachusetts. "When I first opened the card, I was overwhelmed -- I sat there and cried, wondering how did you know, how wonderful it was that you thought to leave that card for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Exactly one year after Secret Agent L launched her project, she revealed her identity. "I saw the positive response the project was getting. I wanted to get out in the community as a real person to see what I could do to spread kindness," said Miller. So far, she and her Associate Agents have completed more than 300 missions. "How easy it is to pay attention to the people around you," Miller says. "Imagine what 2 to 3 minutes could do to brighten someone else's day. It's the easiest and simplest thing to do."

6 of 8 Phoebe's Food Bank

Phoebe’s Food Bank: Five-year-old Phoebe Russell asked her mother “Why do the homeless live that way?” In Phoebe's city, San Francisco, the homeless population ranges between 6,200 and 15,000.
Phoebe's mother, explained about hunger and homelessness. That led to another question: "Who helps them?"
Phoebe also took this question to her preschool teacher, Kathleen Albert. I explained to her some people don't have homes and jobs; some people have really bad things happen to them." Phoebe was determined to help.
Her family would often take cans to the grocery store and recycle them for cash. She asked her parents, "We collect cans at home -- can we do that for the food bank?" Her goal: $1,000 in two months when the school year ended.
Phoebe also recruited her preschool class in her new project. Albert didn't think it could be done. "At five cents a can, one thousand dollars.. A bit unrealistic. But Phoebe was adamant.
The act: Albert and the classmates were onboard. Phoebe spent her recess crafting a handwritten letter and sent them to 150 friends and family members. In neatly written, oversized letters, she wrote: "My charity project is to raise lots of money for the food bank. They need money. Please give me your soda cans."
Phoebe's enthusiasm was infectious. People dropped off checks, cash, and cans at Phoebe's classroom door. The first couple of weeks, a few bags filled with cans showed up. Over the next few weeks, thousands of cans poured in. Once a week for two months, Phoebe counted every single bill and coin herself. She stowed the cash in a box she decorated with shiny star stickers and hand-drawn flowers, dollar signs, and the words: "Phoebe's Project. SF Food Bank." A local columnist got wind of the project and wrote about her effort. Word of mouth also carried her message.
"I've never seen so many cans in my life," Albert said. "People would leave them at the preschool door; others put cash in the mailbox.
The ripple: By the two-month deadline, just before summer break, Phoebe nearly quadrupled her goal, raising more than $3,700, equalling 18,000 meals. A social networking site devoted to inspiring stories posted an online video about Phoebe's project, and it went viral. Six months later, the total reached $20,202, or about 80,000 meals. The video was submitted to Tyson Foods' Hunger Relief Challenge, which led to a donation of 15 tons of chicken, bringing it up to 120,000 meals.
Phoebe's determination to feed the hungry created a "Yes, we can" preschool campaign.
Phoebe, now 7, is in first grade, and her family and friends volunteer at the San Francisco Food Bank. Perhaps more importantly, she inspires her preschool protégés and fellow classmates to pay it forward. Three students at her former preschool raised more than $5,300. That makes a total of more than 135,000 meals served in her community. "It makes me feel good," she says politely.
Her first question -- "Why do the homeless live that way?" -- may never have a good answer. That second one -- "Who helps them?" -- she answered on her own.

5 of 8 Wonder Capes

Wonder Capes: Like many superheroes, Amy Pankratz a stay-at-home mother from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, discovered her powers by accident. One cold winter day, her then four-year-old daughter Isabella said, "Mommy, I want a superhero cape." Pankratz says, "I told her OK." But then she couldn't find capes for little girls at the store, so she sewed her own. Months later, when Isabella fell ill with a double virus and had to be hospitalized, the power of the cape multiplied and transformed into Wonder Capes.
The act: During a brief hospital stay, her daughter begged Pankratz to pack her pink princess cape. "On the third day, Isabella asked if she could wear it in the hallway. Pankratz says. Kids with IV poles looked on in awe. "That's when Isabella put the cape on another hospitalized child." Every other pediatric patient on that hospital floor wanted to soar through the halls. Pankratz started creating, sewing, and donating customized superhero capes: more than 4,000 and counting.
This mom has full days but at night she sews capes. It takes her three or four hours to customize a cape, she considers each child and gives their capes a special blessing. "I read their stories, think about them, their hobbies, favorite colors; I pray over them," she says. "If, even for a moment, the cape brings some relief, comfort, and hope to them, it's worth it,"
The ripple: The Wonder Capes project inspired Angie Kappenman, a mother from Madison, South Dakota. "The cape made [my son] Nicholas feel strong. He’d fly through the hospital halls to receive his treatments.” The cape inspired the Kappenhams' backpack donation program, Stay Strong, Carry On, at the local hospital. The backpacks include coloring books, toys, and activities and can be used as organizational tool for the formidable amount of hospital paperwork.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Children's Miracle Network, and St. Baldrick's Hospital are teaming up with the supermom to give her special capes to sick, injured, or disabled children and their siblings around the world.

4 of 8 Operation Beautiful

Operation Beautiful: Caitlin Boyle was writing environmental compliance documents for a land developer. But writing legal docs and analyzing the development's environmental impact from the confines of her home office was too technical for her taste -- and too solitary. The 25-year-old yearned to do something more creative and self-directed, and wanted to connect with people on a more personal level.
Boyle was taking night classes, hoping for a career change, and on one "really bad day" felt completely overwhelmed by work and school. Boyle realized that her own self-image was holding her back: "I thought I wasn't smart enough to go to work and take night classes at the same time. I'm going to fail my chemistry final. I'm bad at math and can't do this. I was suffering from negative self-talk," she admits.
The act: So what's a woman to do? Brighten up someone else's day. She scribbled "You Are Beautiful" on a piece of paper, posted the note in the ladies' room at Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida, took a photo, and blogged about the moment. She wrote, "If this little blog only does one productive thing, I hope it helps readers realize how truly toxic negative self-talk is -- it hurts you emotionally, spiritually, and physically."
In three days, 75 notes with photos of people posting their own messages flooded her inbox. On the fourth day, Boyle launched her site, Operation Beautiful.
The ripple: The viral message has inspired tens of thousands of anonymous, positive notes, posted in public spots: bathroom mirrors, libraries, hospitals, and gyms. Boyle blogs six days a week, sharing stories with heartfelt messages of hope. Her favourite is from a gym: "Scales measure weight, not worth." Others include "This is not a trick mirror, you look this awesome" and "Take a diet from your negative thoughts, fill yourself with positive ones."
Boyle's mission has touched girls on every continent except Antarctica, sparking impassioned online discussions on the notions of beauty. A girl headed to the roof of a parking garage spotted a note: "If there's no you, someone else will be as alone as you feel now. Turn around."
She turned around and called a friend to pick her up. The friend wrote this email to Boyle: "Thank you so much for starting this project. She’ll never admit it, but she owes her life to this project."
Boyle's positive message continues to multiply: "The Today Show," "The Early Show," the Oprah Winfrey Network, and many other mediums are spreading the compassion. As for her career, Boyle is literally writing the next chapter of her professional life. She continues to blog for a living and has been commissioned to write a book, appropriately titled "Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-It Note at a Time." "It created a circle of random acts of kindness, proving you're never alone, you can change a life and you can do something nice for strangers," says Boyle.


KidSwing: Ben Sater was 3 years old when he received his first surgery for trigger finger. When he was 10, he had surgery on three other fingers at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, an orthopaedic facility that treats about 40,000 patients yearly, at no charge.
"He thought we forgot to pay the hospital bill after his treatments," chuckles his mother. She explained that the hospital relies on the generosity of donations. “I was more confused than amazed," Ben recalls. "I didn't understand how this huge hospital could run on donations and charity events, so I wanted to give back." He later pledged to himself that he’d donate a million dollars to the Dallas hospital before going to college.
Despite his big thinking, his initial attempts to raise money were modest: car washes and lemonade stands. Sater's parents inspired him to think a little bigger.
The act: Golf enthusiasts, Ben and his father came up with the idea of holding a children's charity golf tournament at the sprawling courses of Brookhaven Country Club in Dallas, Texas. They formed two committees, adults and children. Kids aged 7 to 18 were asked to raise $100 to participate.
The tournament became so popular that organizers added another at the Stonebridge Ranch Country Club in McKinney, Texas.
The ripple: Local golf professional Cameron Doan was inspired by Sater's efforts and organized KidSwing to continue the charity fundraiser. In the fourth year, the number of kids who took a swing on the green tripled. The running total: just over $500,000.
In July 2010, KidSwing surpassed the goal, with $1,026,000, plus change. From his dorm room, Sater's still in awe of the journey. "I can't really explain how I got to this day. I was just a 10-year-old kid with an average GPA. I just wanted to do something simple to give back."