A Christians Voice from Fort Smith: Volume 1, Issue 2 – July & August 2012

A Christians Voice from Fort Smith: Volume 1, Issue 2 – July & August 2012

“Heart of a Champion: Leadership”

 

Pat Williams is one of my favorite authors. In his inspiring and motivational book, The Heart of A Champion, Williams says,

 

“I believe God has put within each of us the capacity to accomplish far greater things than most of us can imagine. He has given each of us the ability to achieve greatness in some special area of life. I’ve learned that champions are not necessarily those who were born with special talents, intelligence, or beauty. They are ordinary men and women who achieved success in life because they worked hard to develop the gifts God gave them.

 

Last month, in this column, I introduced the theme for the next several issues – character traits that typify the heart of a champion. The first trait I would like to examine is leadership. What is Leadership? What does the word mean? John C. Maxwell describes it this way, “What makes people want to follow a leader? Why do people reluctantly comply with one leader while passionately following another to the ends of the earth? What separates leadership theorists from successful leaders who lead effectively in the real world? The answer lies in the character qualities of the individual person.” (The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, p. ix) One of the quotes that Maxwell includes on the chapter introduction pages is from Bernard Montgomery, British Field Marshal who said, “Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.”

 

I had the opportunity while living in the Kansas City area to do volunteer work at the Belton Freshman Center. At the time, the school was using a structured program produced by The Heart of A Champion Foundation. I am very impressed with the material produced by this non-profit youth leadership organization and have used some of their material as a basis for this series. Their stated mission is to seek “to transform culture by providing the necessary resources to educate motivate and empower students, teachers, families and groups in core principles essential to lifetime personal development and maximized performance.” As men who are charged by God to be the spiritual leaders of our families I think that this is a wonderful resource for developing the heart of a champion in our sons and daughters. I invite you to visit their website www.heartofachampion.org and check them out.

 

What is leadership? What does the word mean? With a little time spent in various dictionaries you will find that it includes, “to guide, to direct, to act as an authority, to exercise influence.” In the Heart of a Champion program workbook on leadership, they tell young people, “It’s time for your own personal commitment evaluation. Look over the items in the checklist and assess yourself and see what kind of leader you are. Most of the time, I …

  • … place the needs of others above my own
  • … know people are watching me to see how I respond in all situations
  • … am a positive example to younger people
  • … look for ways to serve my community.
  • … look to give positive direction to my friends and in groups

 

“Look over your answers what do they tell you about your level of leadership?

 

“What makes a true leader? Is it power? Money? Title? Achievement? A great resume? A loud, commanding voice? Actually, none of these things makes a great leader. True leaders are leaders because people follow them. Why do others follow them? One reason: character. People do not commit to talent, they commit to character. Leaders are followed because they can be trusted to make wise decisions, and because they are looking out for the good of the group rather than themselves. True leaders are servants who lift up others to make them great, even at their own expense. They are men and women of influence who have chosen to use whatever position they have in society to affect others for good. These are leaders with the Heart Of A Champion.

 

“Showing the way is what it is about in a life of leadership, and every one of us is a leader to at least one other person, whether we realize it or not. So, SHOW THE WAY!”

 

Several true-life examples are used in the Heart of a Campion Character Development Program to teach leadership in various life circumstances. Then after a short video describing these champions, young people are asked a series of questions to draw out discussion and ensure reinforcement of the principles being taught. Consider …

 

Leadership In Crisis*

Dr. Sally Knox, a surgical oncologist at Baylor University Medical Center, is an example of leadership in Crisis. Dr. Knox has chosen to step into the gap for women suffering with breast cancer. She is one of the most successful breast cancer surgeons in the world. She founded The Bridge, a non-profit organization, in 1992 to help get treatment to financially disadvantaged women. This work has become her passion.

 

We live in a world today in which leaders of quality and character seem to be in short supply. We live in an age in which our world is full of crises: world hunger, AIDS, teen pregnancy, and teenage drinking to name a few. It is estimated that 30 million Americans do not know were there next meal is coming from. AIDS is a pandemic problem around the world. Recent studies have shown that the number 1 reason teenage girls in the U. S. visit a hospital is due to pregnancy. The leading killer of teenagers is automobile accidents, the majority of which involve alcohol. It has been said that each of us is either part of the problem or a part of the solution. What are we doing to help our sons and daughters to understand how they can you take action in their own schools or communities in one of these areas? Make a plan to make a difference and then show the way!

 

Leadership Among Those Younger*

Sylvester Croom is an example of leadership among those younger. He made history in 2004, when he was hired as the head football coach at Mississippi State University. He became the first African-American head football coach in the Southeastern Conference. But Croom made it clear that, as proud as he was of his heritage, he wanted to be seen not as a barrier-breaker, but a leader of young men. Croom’s players have great respect for him and know that his number one concern is for them and their welfare, above all else.

 

Everyone is a leader of some sort to those who are younger. There is always at least one pair of eyes watching you to see how you respond to your circumstances and to other people. What kind of deposit are you leaving in those who are watching you? SHOW THE WAY for those younger! We all have at least one person watching us, to learn what decisions should be made and to gain direction. Think of one person who either is now, or at one time was an example for you as to how you should live. Think of one person who was a model or mentor for you. Think about the characteristics that made this person a model leader for you. Now list the things you want to model for those younger to whom you are an example and a leader. Remember, little eyes are always watching you. Someone is looking to you to show them how they should live. What will you demonstrate to them? Will you be the same kind of leader for them as someone once was for you? You can be a mentor. You can show the way.

 

Leadership Among Groups & Peers*

Derrick Brooks is an example of leadership among groups & peers. He has been one of the best linebackers in football since he entered the NFL in 1995. His passionate play and leadership ability have earned him the respect of teammates and opponents alike. His leadership, both on and off the field, was instrumental in turning around a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team and leading them to a Super Bowl championship.

 

How do your peers see you? Do you influence the people around you or do they influence you? Real leaders understand that every person is a valuable part of the group or team they lead. They don’t take advantage of their position or power. How will you make those in your group sense their unique value? How will you demonstrate the character that will be required for each member? How will you motivate them to give their best? How will you SHOW THE WAY?

 

Leadership In Civic Life*

Sam Johnson is an example of leadership in Civic Life. Sam Johnson Johnson served in Vietnam and became a prisoner of war. He now serves as a United States congressman from Texas. Like many POWs, Sam Johnson came home grateful for the opportunity to serve his country and continued to do so in many ways.

 

What qualities do you think enabled Sam to survive as a POW and also have made him an effective leader? What are the most important leadership traits Sam demonstrates? What do you think are the most important aspects of leading when you are in a highly visible position? Think About It! It’s easy to be a follower. But when we follow others, we had better be sure they know where they are going… and many leaders today do not…. In your community or in a part of your world, make a commitment to SHOW THE WAY!

 

“Great leaders become such because they have a heart to serve… The essence of leading is serving… Imagine for a moment you are a candidate for president of the United States….What would qualify you to lead the nation? What would be your platform for the next four years and beyond for the country? Think about the speech you would give on national television in which you will tell the American people why you are the ideal leader for the nation at this time in history.

 

Remember, great leaders are those who are committed to serving others. What can you do to make an impact on the civic life of your community or the nation? The only thing that can stop you from leading out in these areas is you. So step out and show the way!

 

Conclusion: Bringing It Home

Think about what it takes to be a leader in crisis, among those younger, among groups, and in civic life. From what you know about leadership from the examples we have studied above,how you can show others the way? What action will you take to demonstrate the heart of a champion by being a strong leader in your family, among your friends and family, in your relationship with your boss, and in your relationships in the local congregation?

 

Thanks for reading with me men. My prayer for each of you is a strong spiritual influence in your family. The strength of our families and of our nation depends upon your strong spiritual leadership! As Steve Farrar says in the conclusion of his excellent book, Point Man: How a Man Can Lead His Family, “It’s a Herculean task to lead a family, but with the power of God supporting you, it is a tremendous privilege. If we are willing to become the point man in our families, we can count on God’s support and power. He’s looking for men who will follow Jesus Christ and burn their ships behind them. When He finds those men, He will take extraordinary measures to buttress, bolster, and carry them along in His limitless strength. ‘The eyes of the Lord moves to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His (2 Chronicle 16:9, NASB). May we be those men! And may He give us strength to withstand the onslaught of His blessing.”

 

–Randy Sexton

 

(*Note: The material above is adapted from and used by permission of Heart A Champion Foundation)

A Christians Voice from Fort Smith: Volume 1, Issue 1 – June 2012

“The Heart of a Champion”

It has been my pleasure to publish this website since March 2009. I have dedicated the site to the memory of my late father, William C. Sexton, as a teaching tool targeted to youth and men’s ministry. I have focused teaching, targeted to young people, in a page I have titled Remembering My Creator. I generally focus the articles in this section, which I now call A Christian’s Voice from Fort Smith, to topics of interest to men who are striving to be spiritual leaders of their families. This month I address those men who are interested in being spiritual champions. I want to speak to those of you who are interested in developing the heart of a champion in your sons and daughters.

 

There is a book in my library which I purchased while still in high school. I have read it several times, used it as the basis for a Toastmasters speech, and drawn upon it for illustrations in sermons. I would like to share some thoughts from it with you here. In it, Bob Richards, former Olympic pole-vaulter writes, “What it takes to make a champion in the game of athletics is what it takes to make a champion in the game called life…every man needs the heart of a champion. It’s a quality of mind, a mental resolve, an attitude that turns a man beyond the normal and the mediocre to accomplishing great things in all walks of life.” (The Heart of a Champion by Bob Richards, published by Fleming H. Revell Company, May, 1959, pp. 27-28)

 

Richards opens the book with a chapter he titles “A Philosophy for Winning.” Summarizing the thoughts of this chapter, Mr Richards says there are three secrets to this winning philosophy:

  • Dream great dreams and have the will to translate them into reality
  • Be inspired by a great goal, cause, or challenge to see yourself for who you can become
  • Take God with you

 

Don’t we all want to win – to be “champions” in life? His association with great athletes lead Mr. Richards to the conclusion that ALL champions display 4 QUALITIES. Please consider those qualities and then allow them to motivate you to accomplish great things in your spiritual life. First, consider that the heart of a champion …

 

Refuses to Give Up!

Abraham Lincoln, though not an athlete, is an example of one who refused to give up. Born in obscurity and poverty, Old Abe tried unsuccessfully for the senate 4 or 5 times before he finally made it. In business, he failed 3 times and was in debt $1800 when he went to Springfield. But Abraham Lincoln had the heart of a champion and he never gave up. He was elected the 16th President of the United States in 1860 and won re-election in 1864 and has been recognized as one of the greatest of U.S. presidents. His law partner said of him, “His ambition was a little engine that knew no rest.”

 

This is a principle that I personally struggle with. I am tempted to give up when I encounter an obstacle. If I do not master the new skill or learn the new material after a few attempts I must fight that inner voice that tells me to quit. My wife, a music major, has tried on several occasions to teach me the finer points of tempo, cadence, beat and rhythm. I usually throw up my hands in frustration before I have fully comprehended the concepts.

 

But Champions NEVER give up. If you and I want to succeed, we must refuse to give up. Also secondly, consider that the heart of a champion …

Dares to Believe the Impossible!

The 14-foot pole vault, the 50-foot shot put, the 4-minte mile; all were thought impossible before they were achieved. In 1951, a year before the Olympic Games in Helsinki Finland, a Russian by the name of Kazantev astounded the world by breaking, by 10 seconds, the world record in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. He solidified his grip on this event by repeating his record-breaking performance. As the ’52 Olympics approached, everyone conceded that no one had a chance of beating the Russian. Everyone, that is, but a young American named Horace Ashenfelter. Horace just determined that he was going to give everything he had and that he was going to WIN that race. Horace stunned even his teammates when he ran a faster time than Kazantev in his preliminary heat. Then in the finals, in a race that changed leads several times, Horace finished ahead of the Russian slashing his record by 3 seconds. Horace had orchestrated the biggest upset of the Olympic Games.

 

Richards in his book says, “I believe the thing that has made America is the dream in the hearts of scientists like Edison and Franklin, the dream in the hearts of politicians who have been statesmen. It’s the dream in the heart of practically every person who dares to believe the impossible, who believes that no matter what has been done, men will come along to do yet greater things.”

 

We might not be great scientists or statesmen but we too must see ourselves as what we can become. We must see our POTENTIAL! We limit our success when we live only in the present.

 

Having refused to give up and dared to believe the impossible, thirdly the heart of a champion …

 

Keeps Going Even When It Hurts!

Emil Zatopek, in the1952 Olympics, won 3 championships, setting 3 records. In talking with Mr. Richards, Emil talked of the secrets to his winning. He trained 6.5 hrs a day, every day of the year. He told Mr. Richards, “I run until I hurt; that’s when I begin my training program. I’ve learned that if I can just get beyond fatigue, there is a reserve power that I never dreamed I had, and then I go on to run my best races.”

 

I don’t know about you but I have a tendency to complain and throw a “pity party” when things turn sour for me. How much MORE could I accomplish with the mindset of an Emil Zatopek?

 

Finally, the heart of a champion …

 

Gives Everything It Has!

In speaking of this quality Richards observes, “…I’ve seen boys, when they’ve given everything they’ve got physically and mentally, call on something spiritual that carries them to their greatest performance.”

 

Mr Richards interviewed Parry O’Brien on the night that he went out and shot the put a world’s record 59 feet, ¾ of an inch. Parry told Bob, “You can train your body to a peak of physical perfection… But when you get into that ring you need something just a little extra, something down deep within you that can give you that extra boost you need for world’s-record-breaking performances. I always pray to God, because I’ve found in Him that power that helps me do just that little extra.”

 

Yes, we must learn how to “bring home the gold,” “to call on everything We’ve got, down to the deepest spiritual reserve in our hearts and souls (adapted from Richards, p44).” I Don’t believe that we should pray to win but I DO believe we should pray for help to give our BEST!

 

Conclusion

As you go about your day, think on these things. Remember that a champion refuses to give up. He dares to believe the impossible. He keeps on going even when it hurts and he gives everything he has.

 

Do you exhibit these qualities in your professional and personal life? I challenge you to apply these principles in all areas of your life! Remember, “The way we react to our challenges determines the destiny of our lives, our country and our world.” (Richards, p 121).

 

There are definite character traits that typify the heart of a champion. In the coming months I would like to consider several of these character traits with you. Click on the link below to see the Topic Schedule for what I have planned for this page over the next few months. Next month we will consider the trait of LEADERSHIP.

 

Thanks for reading with me dear friends. If there is anything that I can do to assist in your daily walk, please e-mail me at achristiansvoice@sbcglobal.net

 

–Randy Sexton

A Christians Voice from Fort Smith – Topic Schedule

 

A Christian’s Voice From Raymore – Volume 2, Number 3 : Becoming the Man God Wants You to Be

Becoming the Man God Wants You to Be

On the evenings of July 12th – July 15th, it was my good pleasure to share this series of messages with a group of 6th – 8th grade boys. This series served as our evening cabin devotionals at the 2010 FC Missouri Camp. I appreciate the attention and the focus that these young men showed during the study of this very important topic! This material was adapted from Robert Lewis’ book, Raising A Mondern-Day Knight. To those young men, to whom I came to know more personally during the week I leave this personal message:

Guys, Thanks for sharing a little bit of your summer with me. I regret that we were not able to spend even more time together. I left camp not having gotten to know some of you as well as I would have liked, but I hope you will be back next year and we can continue to work on those relationships.

Remember the invitation that I gave you to come to the Teen and Pre-Teen Studies in Kansas City (depending on whether you have crossed that magical dividing-line called “13”). Watch the fcmocamp.com website for dates, locations and directions. Also, if you ever need to talk about any of the kinds of things that we talked about this week at camp, call me or e-mail me. If you want to write an article for my website, particularly the Remembering My Creator page, send it to me via e-mail.

I know our day’s were filled with lots of good stuff. We were tired at the end of the day. The days ran late and we did not always have the time to cover this material to the degree that I had planned. I am glad to share the material with you here and would challenge you to an even deeper study of it in your own quiet time with God. Feel free to leave your public comments or if you would rather comment to me privately, e-mail them to randy.sexton@achristiansvoice.com. I love you guys and my earnest desire and prayer for you is that you might be saved in the day of judgement and that you will grow spiritually here to become the men God wants you to be. I have no greater joy than to know that you walk in the Lord!

Your Friend and Brother,

Randy Sexton

Monday – The Need for a Model

It is so very important that boys, growing to manhood in our time, receive this message. Our culture is in deep trouble because we have lost our vision for manhood.

There are three important questions that boys growing up in our culture need to know.

What is a man? What process produces a man? How do you know when you’ve become a man? Most, if not all of you, have dads that will help you answer these questions and ensure that you become a man of strength, heart, conviction and vision.

Sam Rayburn, one of this nation’s most powerful political leaders, recalled fondly during his latter years the days in 1900 when his father took him in horse and buggy to the train station as he headed off for college. As Sam’s father bid farewell to his son, he handed him $25. Realizing the sacrifice that his father had to make to give him that money, Sam was very touched. But then his dad uttered words that Sam wound fondly remember at later times of crises in his life. “Sam, be a man.”

The Apostle Paul, writing to the church in Corinth said, “Act like Men.” (1st Corinthians 16:13) They had many problems, including conflicts among Christians who were pledging their allegiance to those who had converted them rather than to Jesus.

My suggestion is that we look at the Knighthood Model of the Medieval Ages to see what lessons we can learn about the process of becoming a man. But ultimately, we are not so concerned about making boys into knights but in determining how a boy becomes the man God wants him to be.

What knighthood offered that is lacking in our culture is a clear, biblically grounded definition of manhood, a process to embrace to achieve manhood, and a ceremony to celebrate a boys passing into manhood.

The “clearly marked path” from boy to man included 3 stages. The first stage was the Page Stage. At age 7 or 8, a boy went to live in a castle and learned of armor and weapons and performed household tasks at the castle. The second state was the Squire Stage. At age 14, a boy traveled with a knight who served as his mentor, instilling in him rigorous discipline. The squire served his knight in the most menial of tasks. The third stage was the Knight State. At age 21, a young man became eligible for knighthood and went through an elaborate initiation to confer it.

The three components that we will study in our cabin devotionals this week are: a vision for manhood, a code of conduct for manhood and a transcendent cause in which to invest your life.

Tuesday – A Vision for Manhood

William Marshal is considered to be the ideal knight, living at the peak of knighthood during the twelfth century. His courage and chivalry is illustrated by an incident that occurred in May 1197, as he lead an attack against the castle of Milli in France. As the battle burned strong, Marshal observed one of his men caught in the great fork of an attacker and hanging from the neck on a ladder that had been placed against the wall of the castle. Climbing the ladder by himself, Marshal freed his fellow night from his predicament. Historians say that Marshal’s valor proved to be the difference in the valor as his band of knights achieved the victory storming the castle.

Marshal demonstrated other worthy traits common of the knight’s code of conduct. He loved his family. He made provision for each of his 10 children and loved his wife, Isabel, greatly. Two influences in Marshal’s life account for such strong character. Marshal had a powerful mentor in his first cousin, William of Tancarville. He also lived in a particular kind of culture which offered a clear path to manhood.

The Scriptures speak of another man who demonstrated a similar strength of character and suggested a clear path to manhood. That man was Moses and the passage is Deuteronomy 11:18-21. Moses identifies the path. Fathers were to lay up his words in their hearts and in their souls and bind them as a sign on their hand and as frontlets between their eyes and to teach them to their sons, talking of them when they sat in their house, when they walked along the road, when they lay upon their beds and when they rose up. They were to write them on the doorposts of their house and on their gates so that their days and the days of their sons would be multiplied on the which the Lord swore to their fathers to give them, as long as the heaves remained above the earth.

Historians report that the impact of the disciplined, rigorous lifestyle of knighthood at its peak, harnessed the “unrestrained passions of masculinity” mostly for good. Boys were trained from an early age! They were given a code of conduct! Their progress from adolescence to manhood was marked with ceremony and celebration.

Modern culture, on the other hand, does little to harness the energy and passions of men for good. Our culture is marked by some alarming statistics. Did you know that 90% of major crimes are committed by men? Men commit 100% of rapes, 95% of burglaries, 91% of offenses against families, and 94% of drunk drivers are men!

Boys become the men God wants them to be in the presence of a clear vision of manhood. But, “where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained” (Proverbs 29:18). In the past there were three sources for this vision. The community, like the Nuer people of Southern Sudan and various tribes of Native American Indians provided extreme initiations. In the past, the family often provided a vision for sons as they grew to carry on the family name, the family business, family traditions, etc. But today we live in the era of the “absent father.” In the past, churches took a strong stand in proclaiming the role of husbands and fathers. But today, many churches have given in to the feminist ideology and abandoned the teaching of Scripture relative to the man’s responsibility to be the spiritual leader of the family.

Scripture (1st Corinthians 15:45-47) gives us two examples, one positive and one negative, that symbolize the essence of masculinity. Adam illustrates life separated from God and a failed manhood. Adam was influenced by physical direction and based on fleshly desires. Christ, referred to as “the last Adam” in our text, represents life in union with God and a successful manhood. Christ was influenced by spiritual direction and based on faith.

One way to look at the examples of Adam and Christ is to note the defining differences between the two. I would suggest to you that these are components of the answer to the question, “What is a man?”. Robert Lewis in his book states them in terms of rejecting passivity, accepting responsibility, leading courageously and expecting the greater reward. Let us notice each of these in order.

A Real Man Rejects Passivity.

The male of the species is naturally, innately aggressive, ready to initiate, explorative, and competitive to achieve physically and psychologically. But his tendency is to be the polar opposite when it comes to the social and spiritual realm. The man who wants to be what God wants him to be has to reject this tendency to be passive. He must actively engage his whole soul, body and mind in the pursuit of spiritual goals and objectives and in leading his family to heaven. In this regard Adam failed to intervene as he stood by and watched the serpent tempt his wife and scripture says, “she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:6). Jesus, on the other hand, initiated action. Philippians 2:5-8 speak of Him, emptying, taking the form of a servant, humbling himself, and becoming obedient.

A Real Man Accepts Responsibility.

Adam was given a will to obey (“don’t eat”), a work to do (“till the garden”) an a woman to love (Eve). He failed to accept his responsibility. Jesus was also given a will to obey (His Father’s), a work to do (save the lost) and a woman to love (the church). Jesus accepted His responsibilities and they defined His life as a man!

A Real Man Leads Courageously.

God created man to lead. But in order for us to do so we must “master” our passions. The Apostle Paul said, “But I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1st Corinthians 9:27).

A Real Man Expects The Greater Reward.

Manhood is challenging but not burdensome! Manhood was designed by God to be a means of great reward (John 10:10; 1st Corinthians 2:9; 1st Timothy 4:8; 6:6). Those rewards include an honorable name, an “excellent wife,” children who look up to and respect you, the respect of other men an a satisfying and fulfilling life!

Wednesday – A Code of Conduct for Manhood

Perhaps you have heard it said, “You are what you are when no one else is looking.” How true that statement is! We can pretend to be something we are not , but that pretense will not fool God and will only lead the hypocrite into further areas of conflict. Brother Dick Modin had an outstanding message about “Being You” in one of his evening devotionals.

Robert Lewis, in his book, retells the story, “The Catch of a Lifetime,” that initially appeared in the February 1989 Reader’s Digest. In the story, James P. Lenfestey tells of an 11-year-old boy’s fishing adventure with his dad on a New Hampshire lake. As the story goes, the boy caught an amazingly large bass but hooked it two hours before bass season officially opened, so his father made him throw it back. One of the points of the story was that no one else was around, so no one else would have known, but the father insisted that his son abide by the fishing regulations and throw the bass back. Lewis says, “The incident occurred 34 years ago. Never again would the boy catch such a magnificent fish. But what he did catch that day was something much better: a lesson in moral character. For as his father taught him, ethics are simple matters of right and wrong. It is only the practice of ethics that is difficult. Do we do right when no one is looking? Do we refuse to cut corners… When a dad imparts a code of conduct, when he establishes boundaries and reinforces truth, a son is forever strengthened… (Proverbs 11:3)”

It is my hope and prayer that each of you has a dad who is imparting a code of conduct to you! I pray that you are seeing a father’s love being demonstrated toward you in how he establishes boundaries for you and how he reinforces truth for you! Because, my brother, you will be strengthened forever!

Let’s illustrate how our culture, despite progress in other areas, has failed to provide an adequate code of conduct for young people. In the 1940’s, major school problems included: talking out of turn, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls, cutting in line, dress code violations, and littering. Today’s major school problems include: drug abuse, alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery, and assault. What is missing? I would suggest to you that it is a clearly defined, biblically grounded, code of conduct!

The Knight’s Code of Conduct stipulated that he must:

  • Be Loyal
  • Conduct himself like a champion by showing courage and valor
  • Win the love of a woman by his romanticism and chivalry
  • Practice generosity

In becoming the man God wants you to be:

You have a will to obey. Ecclesiastes 12: 1, 13 defines that will as remembering your creator in the days of your youth and to live all the days of your life fearing God and keeping His commandments. The Bible is your handbook. The handbook ideals include: loyalty (Hosea 6:6), servant-leadership (Matthew 20:26-27), kindness (Proverbs 19:22), humility (Philippians 2:3), purity (1st Timothy 4:12), honesty (Ephesians 4:25), self-discipline (1st Timothy 4:7-8), excellence (1st Corinthians 9:24), integrity (Proverbs 10:9), and perseverance (Galatians 6:9).

You have a work to do. You will have the opportunity as you grow and mature to determine what gifts and talents you have and make an appropriate selection for your chosen profession. But you will also have the opportunity to discover your spiritual giftedness. Don’t be afraid to try those things that initially seem uncomfortable to you. It is only through the process of growth described in Hebrews 5: 11- 6:3 that your are able to progress beyond the state of being “unskilled in the word of righteousness” to “go on to maturity.”

You will have a woman to love. This will be one of the most important earthly relationships you will ever have! She will play a central role in your life (Genesis 2:18). One of your chief responsibilities will be to take care of her (Ephesians 5:25-30), to be the provider for your family (1st Timothy 5:8), so that she can “work at home” (Titus 2:5). This is a great need today – for young men to realize their responsibility to prepare appropriately for vocations that will earn them enough to allow their wives to be engaged in the day-to-day care of their homes and children!

Thursday – A Transcendent Cause in Which to Invest Your Life

The “conventional vision” equates manhood with what a man does instead of who he is. When men get together, they often introduce themselves by name followed very quickly by a description of what they do for a living (i.e. “Hi, I am Randy, I am a lawyer.”

In the conventional model, a man’s value is earned, therefore he becomes highly competitive. The drive to accomplish, to win, to out-think, to out-work, to out-earn the other guy motivates him in much of what he does! Often, this evaluation of man’s value creates a lopsided time management system with higher priorities placed on job-related tasks than on family-oriented activities.

Success is the goal in this model of manhood. A level of this type of thinking will be a natural outgrowth of the “work ethic” that God expects all men to innately possess. But When “climbing the corporate ladder” becomes the primary goal of a man’s existence, often a man’s marriage relationship, and his relationships with his kids suffer.

In the conventional model, power is the reward. And often this power becomes “intoxicating,” driving the wedge even deeper between the man and his wife and kids. This component is more appropriate to God’s vision for manhood when the word “power” is replaced with the word “influence.” Corporate success that puts us in a position to influence more people with the gospel is good (what Paul calls the adorning of the gospel in Titus 2:10).

The final component of this conventional vision is that success brings wealth and affluence. But the down side is that it rarely satisfies! Note in the passage noted below, Solomon’s evaluation of the satisfaction brought by material wealth.

If held in proper balance, this conventional vision of manhood is not altogether wrong, but it is certainly incomplete! It lacks a transcendent cause in which we can invest our lives! It is lacking in a mission which lifts us beyond ourselves. It is laking in a passion which stirs us to self-sacrifice.

Solomon’s commentary on a life lived in the pursuit of earthly pleasures and rewards is found in Ecclesiastes 2:4-11. He says, “I enlarged my my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself; I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees…” He also says, “Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem…. I did not with withhold my heart from any pleasure….” His conclusion at the end of these experiences, “Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.” And then his conclusion at the end of the book, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment. everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

In his book, Robert Lewis tells the story of Bill Smith and how, on a plane trip he met a man who reminded him of himself in his younger days. The point of the story is that men, in the pursuit of this conventional vision of manhood, sometimes lose touch with their families and after a time find that, what they have worked so hard for is at the center of their lives, but everything else is crumbling around them. In the end of the story, Bill Smith explains to his new friend the meaning with which he filled the “hole in his heart” that was left by devoting all his energies in pursuit of the three goals of his life: to make a lot of money, to meet powerful/influential people and to travel. His life-changing decision to follow Jesus Christ invested his life with new meaning.

Until you commit your life to a cause that calls forth sacrifice, that is significant beyond the moment and is truly meaningful, no amount of success will satisfy your heart! Jesus is that transcendent cause in which, if you are wise, you will invest your life! Jesus calls forth sacrifice. He calls us all to take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23-24). Jesus is significant beyond the moment. He is the same yesterday, and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Jesus is truly meaningful. He the way, the truth and the life. He is the light of the world and those who follow Him will invest their lives with that more valuable than anything this world has to offer (John 14:6; 8:12).

This is important stuff guys! Please take it to heart! It was my pleasure to share this information with you this week and my challenge to you is this. Take the material that you received at camp this week and drill down deeper into it in your own quiet time with God. Read the scriptures. Think on them, and decide how you will respond. Will you grow spiritually from the the valuable instruction you have received this week and come to camp next year even stronger? Will you continue to build upon the new friendships you have made this week and to deepen the existing relationships? Or Will you simply move back into bad habits that you had before you came to camp and look back upon the week at camp as simply a week of summer fun? My prayer is that you will grow spiritually from your time this week.


Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Sunday, June 13, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Ephesians 4-6

Things to remember in today’s reading:

*Paul exhorts the Christians at Ephesus to unity, instructs them about using various gifts, and teaches about the new life in Christ being experienced by the Gentile Christians (4:1-32).

*Paul gives general instruction for holy living as he teaches about purity of life by avoiding evil deeds and and associations and adopting holy practices (5:1-20).

  • Paul teaches about submission to others (5:21-6:9).

*Paul urges the Christians at Ephesus to put on the whole armor of God, standing in the strength of the Lord, standing firm and being constant in prayer (6:10-20).

*Paul concludes his letter by greeting various individuals who have meant so much to him in his Christian walk (6:21-24).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

*There is a “walk” that we are to practice that must meet a certain standard! That standard is “the calling to which we have been called.” The grade we are to achieve is called here by Paul, “worthy.” Not just any half-hearted attempt will do!

*This “walk” will cause us to eagerly desire to “maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace”! It will motivate us to celebrate the “ones” we have in common in Jesus!

*What a wonderful work He has given us, this work of the ministry for building up the body of Christ!

*When we do not equip ourselves appropriately, and “grow up in every way…into Christ,” we expose ourselves to the dangers enumerated by Paul: being carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, and by craftiness in deceitful schemes!

*We all need to be renewed in the spirits of our minds.”

*The model for pure living for us to strive for is described here.

The model for the family relationships for us to strive for is described here.

Things to act on in today’s reading:

*I will speak the truth in love to my neighbor!

*I will let no corrupting talk come out of my mouth, but only that which is good for building up!

*I will put away all bitterness, and wrath and anger and clamor and slander!

*I will be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to my brothers and sisters in Christ!

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

*To be renewed in the spirit of my mind, everyday putting on the new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness!

*Courage and love to motivate me to speak the truth with my neighbor!

*To be angry and sin not

*That I give not opportunity to the devil!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Saturday, June 12, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Luke 11-12

Things to remember in today’s reading:

*The Lord teaches His disciples to pray, declares confidently that it is the finger of God that is at work in him to cast out demons (1:1-23).

*Luke describes the process that occurs when an unclean spirit goes out of a person (11:24-26).

*Jesus defines “the blessed” as those who hear the word of God and keep it and He denounces the current generation for seeking a sign (11:27-32).

*Jesus teaches about light, washing before meals, and pronounces several woes on the Pharisees and lawyers (11:33-12:3).

*Jesus teaches about fear of the physical vs. fear of the spiritual, about acknowledging Him before men and about covetousness (12:4-21).

*Jesus teaches about being anxious, about being ready, about commitment even when it brings division, about interpreting the times and about settling with your accuser (12:22-59).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

*When we pray, we should express words of adoration (v1), confession (v4), thanksgiving (v3) and supplication (“your kingdom come” and “lead us not into temptation”). This simple prayer provides a pattern we can follow that we can remember with the acronym ACTS.

*We can be so persistent in pressing for specifics of right and wrong, that we neglect love (11:42).

*We can be guilty of seeking glory for ourselves for what we do rather than giving glory to God (11:43).

*We can so hinder others that we “take away the key of knowledge” (11:52).

Things to act on in today’s reading:

*I will pray!

*I will work to share the key of knowledge to God’s word!

*I will consider the birds and the lilies of the field when I begin to feel anxious!

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

*For courage!

*For an obedient spirit!

*For anchoring in Jesus

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Friday, June 11, 2010

Today’s Scripture:

Things to remember in today’s reading:

*Speaking to a community forced from it’s home, Ezekiel sets the scene for an awesome vision of the glory of God (1:1-28).

*Ezekiel receives his commission to prophesy, through swallowing a scroll, given him by God. This scroll strengthens him and trains him in obedience (2:1-3:11).

*The glory of God withdraws and Ezekiel’s role becomes that of a watchman, then God’s glory returns to him in the valley telling him to shut himself within his house (3:12-27).

*Ezekiel receives his first vision of judgement against his own nation of Judah (usually called Israel in the text), prediction of death of one-third by pestilence, one-third by famine, an one-third by sword (4:1-5:17).

*Ezekiel receives his vision against the “mountains of Israel” (6:1-14).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

*It is right to vindicate the holiness of our Go and to attempt to restore His glory before people who have spurned it!

*As we preach and teach, we will encounter those who “have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart” (3:7).

*Ezekiel stood on the cusp between those who called for repentance by threatening judgment and those who called for repentance by promising restoration. He influenced those who came after him (ESV Study Bible, p. 1497).

Things to act on in today’s reading:

*I am thinking about what it might have been like to live in the time of Ezekiel.

*I am writing a note to encourage one of my brothers who has rebelled against God’s rules and has not walked in His steps and is doing wickedness that even many in the world around him recognize as immoral.

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

*That I might be an influence, on those who will follow me, in the same positive way that Ezekiel was.

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Thursday­­­­­­, June 10, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Proverbs 4

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • After making his fourth appeal to his son to walk securely in wisdom (3:21-35), the father makes his fifth appeal that wisdom is a tradition worth maintaining (4:1-9).
  • His sixth appeal is that there are two ways that lie before all of us that require us to choose the way of wisdom or the way of folly (4:10-19).
  • The father’s seventh appeal to his son is for him to maintain a heart of wisdom (4:20-27).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • Godliness and prudence are part of the legacy we should maintain as a family heritage (4:3-4).
  • Keeping hold of instruction of godly fathers and mothers will allow children to walk without their way being hampered and to run without them stumbling 4:12-13).
  • Out of the heart flows “the springs of life,” affecting our speech, what we look at, where we go and how we conduct ourselves (4:23).

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • Impress upon my sons the importance of putting away “crooked speech” and “devious talk” that they have a tendency to pick up from their friends in the world (4:24)
  • Discuss with my sons, ways they can keep my instructions to them within their hearts and what it means to hold fast to my words (4:4, 20-21).

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • That I always have humility as I give “good precepts,” and that “my teaching” and the wisdom that I impart to my sons is what God intends for them to receive!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Wednesday­­­­­­, June 9, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 69-71

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • In this psalm, the author laments his suffering at the hands of attackers who are taking advantage and making worse what he is experiencing as a result of his own wrongs (69:1-36).
  • In this psalm, the author prays urgently for rescue from enemies who delight in his hurt (70:1-5)
  • In this psalm, the author laments his plight at the hands of wicked, unjust, and cruel men and requests deliverance based upon his trusting in the Lord from his youth (71:1-24).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • We sometimes grow weary waiting for our God but then we remember, at an acceptable time, He will answer in His saving faithfulness (69:3, 13).
  • The Lord hears the needy and does not despise His own people who are prisoners (69:33).
  • God will not cast us off in the time of old age, when our strength is spent, if we have remembered Him in the days of our youth (71:6, 17-18; Ecclesiastes 12:1).
  • God has done great things; he has seen us through many troubles and calamities and will revive us again, when the flame grows dim (71:19-20).

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • I will keep on camping toward Canaan’s happy land!

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • Teach me Lord to wait!
  • Revive me again – rekindle with fire from above …

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Tuesday­­­­­­, June 8, 2010

Today’s Scripture: 1st Kings 10-13

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • A description of the glory of Solomon’s kingdom continues from the previous chapter (10:1-29)
  • Solomon turns from the Lord when he is old, loving foreign women and going after other Gods, so God raises adversaries against him (11:1-26).
  • The most important of these adversaries, Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, is chosen to receive ten of the tribes at the death of Solomon (11:27-43)
  • Solomon’s son Reheboam reigned in his place at his death but has to deal with the providential plan of God to give ten of the tribes to Jeroboam (12:1-25
  • “Solomon had been given great gifts from God, but instead of responsibly using these gifts in obedience to God, the king allowed himself to be influenced by others. Christ’s followers need to stand against pressure to compromise our faith and what we know be true.” (The Devotional Bible by Max Lucado, p 401)
  • When Jeroboam builds golden calves, the Lord sends a Man of God to speak against it (13:1-34).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • We must be on guard to not allow things in our lives to bring us to the same condition that Solomon found himself in when he was old; “his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God” (11:4)
  • With blessings come responsibilities (Luke 12:48). “Those who are given understanding, ability, goods, money, authority or fame have a responsibility that the less favored do not bear; failure to fulfill it produces fearful punishment…. Whatever level of opportunity is given to us, both God and man expect us to give a certain standard of performance. Favor carries with it responsibility. As the favor increases, the responsibility increases.” (From The Secret Kingdom by Pat Robertson)

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • To explore the responsibilities I have been given to serve God!

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • For help to stand against the harmful influences of others!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Monday­­­­­­, June 7, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Leviticus 1-3

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • Instructions are given for the burnt offering (1:1-17)
  • Instructions are given for the grain offering (2:1-16)
  • Instructions are given for the peace offering (3:1-17)

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • As God’s people, we must address our sin and impurity so that God will dwell among us!
  • As worshippers, we must be wholehearted in our devotion!

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • I will present my body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God! I will NOT be confirmed to this world! I will be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of my mind, because He has delivered me from the domain of darkness and TRANSFERRED me to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Romans 12:1-2, Colossians 1:13)

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • For wisdom to fight off all of the deceiving schemes of the prince of the domain of darkness!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton