Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why call it a "boot camp"?


I’m very excited about the upcoming boot camp.  We are very near 100% registration among our members.  (There are only five members who have not registered.  If you're one of them, you can register here.)  Additionally, we have a good number of regular attenders who are registered.  That’s wonderful.
There are a number of reasons to call this a boot camp.  First of all, there is the obvious macho appeal.  Also, much like the military tears men down and rebuilds them, Lord willing we’ll be tearing down wrong thinking and bad habits related to spiritual leadership and rebuilding our thinking and habits in accordance with Scripture.  But probably the most important reason to call it a boot camp is because of how seriously we should take our commitment to this thing.  That commitment will be demonstrated in several ways:
We’re committed to being on time.  We will be starting promptly at 7:00am each Saturday morning.  If you are driving into the parking lot or making a trip to the bathroom or getting a cup of coffee at 7:00, you’ll be late.  Don’t be late.  Please be seated and ready to hit it by 7:00.  If you want coffee, show up early and take care of that in time to be seated by 7:00. 
Some of you have mentioned that you’ll just be getting off work at 7:00 and will be late.  I know who you are and that’s fine.  If any of the rest of you know that you’ll be late for a particular session, please let me know prior to that session. 
We’re committed to finishing what we start.  The elders would like for all of us to commit to completing the boot camp.  A commitment to begin is a commitment to finish.  We are all conscientious about how we do our work in the secular workplace.  We are responsible there to finish what we start.  For some reason, this does not always translate to our commitments at church.  Yet, it should, especially for those of us who are members of the covenant community at PBF.  Let’s view this boot camp as a commitment to complete the journey together for the good of ourselves, our families, and the church.
We’re committed to being accountable for our absences.  This means two things.  First, if we have to miss a session, we’re committed to watching that session online and to completing the weekly mission by the following Saturday.  Second, if we have to miss a session, we’re committed to giving notice ahead of time.  If you have to miss a session, that’s fine.  Just please let me know prior to that session so I can get you the materials via email.
But there is a second notification that you need to make.  A crucial component of the boot camp will be something called conference groups.  Each week, we’ll spend a portion of our time divided into smaller groups for conferencing, a concept that will be explained at the boot camp.  Conference groups will be formed at the first session and will remain together for the duration of the boot camp.  If you are going to miss a session, you also need to let your conference group know ahead of time.  Don’t leave them hanging.
We’re committed to going all out.  It should be obvious from the passages that we’ve studied during the last two Sunday mornings that serving as the spiritual leaders of our homes is a glorious, holy obligation.  It is something that we are all called to.  It is not something optional for those who want to take it to the next level.  Our Lord Jesus Christ poured it all out for us.  We are to pour it all out for our families.  Therefore, there should be no tiptoeing into this boot camp.  No trying-it-out.  We need to all show up ready for action, ready to go all out for the glory of God and for the good of His people.  If you are struggling with a wrong attitude, confess this to the Lord, ask His forgiveness, and pray that He would give you a holy fire in your belly to hit the ground running. 
May the Lord steel our resolve.  May He move us to step up to the plate and lead.  I look forward to seeing you on February 7.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Why Every Man Too Busy to Attend the Spiritual Leadership Boot Camp Should Attend the Spiritual Leadership Boot Camp


Most men in the church are busy people.  Some have jobs that require them to work odd or long hours, which can make it difficult to take care of everyday household responsibilities.  When you add family events and church activities on top of that, it can feel like the walls are closing in.  So for some of us, an extra commitment like the men’s spiritual leadership boot camp isn’t exactly an exciting prospect.  Any man would understand that.
I’d like to give you a few things to consider that make this boot camp a good use of your time even if you are crazy busy. 
1.     Busy or not, we’re called to lead.  We need to understand that pointing our families to Christ, leading them spiritually, is the most important responsibility we have as Christian men.  Nothing supersedes it.  God will hold us accountable for it no matter how busy we are.  Yet most of us have no clue how to do it.  That’s a problem.  Think of it in terms of an equation:
huge responsibility + divine accountability + no clue = world of hurt
 
This is not something that can be put off like those dance lessons your wife wants you to take.  This has to be a front burner priority.  We need to get it done and the time is now.
2.     We’re not going to waste time.  This boot camp is not for men who have a ton of free time and nothing better to do.  We have purposefully packed a ton of information into very few sessions.  In other words, it has been designed with men like you in mind.  No fluff.  No cute stories.  Just get the goods and get going.  We will start at precisely 7am and end at precisely 8:30. 
3.     This is an investment.  Your time is an irreplaceable commodity.  You can’t get it back.  Accordingly, you have to spend your time in the most economical way, getting the most out of every hour.  That’s precisely why you can’t afford to blow off this boot camp – it’s a great investment.  Great investments pay off.  We’re talking about eight Saturday mornings from 7 to 8:30.  That’s a grand total of twelve hours of your life.  In those twelve hours, you’ll be equipped to lead your family well for the rest of your life.  Only a fool would turn his back on that kind of return.
4.     Going it alone just doesn’t make sense.  Some of us who really want to lead our families may think, “I don’t have time to come.  I’ll just have to do some research on my own.”  This may make sense initially, but consider this: I’ve spent the last two years developing this material, including many dozens of hours researching, reading, studying, and writing.  If you were to spend your free time – as if that exists – trying to accumulate this information yourself, it would take several years.  You don’t have that kind of time.  Your family needs your leadership now.  Save yourself a few years by coming to the boot camp and benefiting from work that has already been done.
You may be tempted to think you can't afford the time to come.  The truth is you can't afford not to come.  Though some of us may be busier than others, we are all essentially in the same boat.  Let’s bite down and do this together.  Make the investment.  Register now.  All you have to do is click a linkany of them…there are twelve on this page…just pick one. 
Now, some of you want to come very badly but you have work responsibilities that will not allow it.  Others may be able to make some of the sessions but not all.  Register anyway.  All of the sessions will be online so that you can keep up with everyone else, whether you are going to miss one session or all of them. 
“So why should I register if can’t attend the actual sessions but will be watching them online?”  Great question.  The boot camp will include crucial resources that will not be online.  If you register and let me know your situation, I can make sure that you get those resources and are able to benefit from the boot camp as much as possible. 
May the Lord bless this use of our time!  (Register.  Register.  Register.) 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Why Every Wife Should (Strongly) Encourage Her Husband to Attend the Spiritual Leadership Boot Camp


I’ve read a number of marriage books over the years.  Some of them provide lists of the top needs/desires of husbands and wives.  These lists typically place romance, security, and communication somewhere near the top for wives.  It's curious to me that in the formal and informal counseling I’ve done I’ve never heard a wife say, “I wish he would be more romantic” or “I just want him to talk to me.”  I have no doubt that women do long for these things, but there seems to be something else that is even more important to them.  What I hear more than anything else is, “I wish he would lead me.”
We’ve been blessed in our congregation with many women who are committed to the biblical framework for the family, that is, that the husband is the spiritual leader and the wife is his helpmate.  Accordingly, they have a strong desire to see their husbands lead.  They long for it.  Yet some have all but given up hope that he will ever take this role seriously.  They’ve been married for years and have seen no growth in this area.  When they have tried to nudge their husbands in that direction they’ve been accused of nagging.
I’d like to give you some reasons to push past that discouragement and strongly encourage your husband to attend the spiritual leadership boot camp. 
·      This may be just what you’ve been praying for.  You want him to lead, though neither you nor your husband have a clear picture of how he should do that.  Many men in our congregation have told me that they want to lead, but they just have no idea how.  This boot camp will lay it out for them so that they have no doubt what it means to be spiritual leaders.
·      Your husband is your brother in Christ.  Some wives carry the mistaken notion that because they are called to submit to their husbands (Eph 5:22-24) it is not their place to confront their husbands or to exhort them to take a certain path.  This is a sad misunderstanding of biblical submission.  You are your husband’s sister in Christ, and as such you have a responsibility to speak the truth in love to him (Eph 4:15-16), to encourage and build him up (1 Thess 5:11), to admonish him (1 Thess 5:14), and to confront his sin (Luke 17:3-4).  It is your place to encourage him to lead. 
·      At the same time, this is an opportunity to help him move in the right direction without feeling like you’re nagging him.  He may have even accused you of nagging him on this issue.  Encourage him to come to the boot camp.  Once he’s there, I’ll nag him. 
·      There are a host of familial problems that are remedied simply by a husband and wife living out their God-given roles.  If your husband learns how to lead you and implements the disciplines he’ll discover in this boot camp, the results for your family can only be positive.  You may have a plethora of issues in your home.  You would be amazed how a few small changes in the leadership of your family can help with those issues.  
·      If you have children, they need your husband’s leadership as much as you do.  Perhaps you’ve been taking up the slack and have been providing that leadership for your children because your husband has not.  You know the blessing that it is to speak the truth to them and to point them to Jesus.  Imagine how blessed your husband would be to experience that, too.
·      Your husband is the one God has called to shepherd your family and he is the one who will answer to God for how well your family has been led (Gen 3:9).  If he continues to fail to lead, consider the discomfort that he will feel on that day when he stands before the Lord and is called to account.  If you love him, you will not want that for him.  Encourage him to be trained.
·      This is about more that your own comfort; this is ultimately about God’s glory.  As we will see beginning this Sunday, the gospel equips a man to overcome the Fall’s consequences for his leadership of the family.  In the Fall, God’s design for male leadership was marred.  In Christ, the Father has provided for this to be overturned and for the family to follow God’s original plan for the home.  When the gospel transforms an individual, a marriage, or a family, God is glorified because He is the cause of that transformation.  If a wife wants the Lord to be glorified, she will want her husband to lead and she will encourage him to do so. 

Encourage him to attend.  Tell him how important it is to you.  Tell him, “It’s only eight weeks.  Anyone can do anything for eight weeks.”  Lord willing, those eight weeks will help him to create new habits that will last the rest of your lives.  
 Ladies, would you pray with me that the Lord will move every man in our congregation to make this a priority and that the Lord will use this to transform our families?
Encourage him to register at www.providencebiblefellowship.com.   May the Lord bless you!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Why Every Empty Nester and Every Single Man Should Attend the Spiritual Leadership Boot Camp


As many of you know, we’ll be starting a spiritual leadership boot camp for the men in our congregation on Saturday, February 7.  (Click here to learn more)  Every man in the congregation is encouraged to participate, but there are some demographics that may not feel like such training is a necessity for them personally.  One such group could be the empty nesters.  Since all their children are grown and gone, some of these men may feel as if they “gave at the office,” so to speak.  Or they may believe that they already have a pretty good handle on what it means to be the spiritual leader of their home.
I can think of a few reasons why empty nesters should still make it a priority to attend this training.  First, though you may be in your retirement years, there is no biblical expiration date on our role as the spiritual leaders of our homes.  The children may be gone, but your wife is still there and she still needs you to lead her.  Until the day we die, the Lord will hold us responsible for leading.
Second, we should all see this training as an opportunity to grow in sanctification.  Just as there is no expiration date on our leadership role, there is no such thing as arriving at perfect Christlikeness in this life.  We are to strive for holiness until the day we die.  There is most likely no one who cannot improve in this area of spiritual leadership.  We need to press on.
Third, you may have already reached a level of great maturity in your spiritual leadership, but this is precisely why you should attend this training.  Your maturity, experience, and wisdom could be a huge blessing to the younger men who have no idea what it means to lead their families spiritually.  The Lord could use you as a mentor to these men.  Isn’t that how God has designed the church to build itself up in love…by each member using his or her area of gifting and experience to help others?  If you stay home while others attend, you will have shelved an important resource with which the Lord has blessed our congregation.
Another group of men who may not see the relevance of this training to their own lives is our single men.  After all, they don’t have wives and children to lead.  There are at least a couple of reasons why it would be wise for you to come anyway.  First, you may not always be single.  If the Lord wills, you could be married very shortly and be starting a family.  What a blessing to your future wife and children for you to enter that phase of your life without being completely in the dark regarding how the Lord expects you to lead them.  Having a handle on spiritual leadership now could make entering marriage and entering fatherhood far less daunting.  In other words, love your future wife and children now by being trained now in how to lovingly lead them in the faith.
Second, even if you never get married or have children, the Lord could use you to come alongside men who do have families to encourage them and help them.  Do you want to have meaningful brotherly relationships only with other singles?  Or do you desire to be able to enjoy fellowship and accountability with any man in the church?  If you want to be an encouragement even to your married brothers in the faith, you would be well equipped to do that if you understand the demands placed upon them by the Lord and the difficulties and temptations associated with it. This boot camp would equip you in that way.
In my view, there is not a man in the congregation who would not benefit from this training.  And there is not a man in the congregation whom this training would not equip to be a blessing to others.  Please make it a priority to attend, no matter your current station in life. 
Remember – the boot camp will go for eight consecutive Saturdays beginning on February 7th.  We’ll meet from 7-8:30a.  I hope to see you there!

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