We Build Men Who Love God

The title of this blog post is a value of Curwensville Alliance. We own it. If you want to know more about it, you can click here, where I speak of it in some detail.

Read any good books lately?

Several years ago, I invited some men to join me in growing our faith. At first, we met very early in the morning. If memory serves, some men of strong commitment met at 5:30 a.m. in the nearby truck stop. We moved from there to a few more local places. Currently, we meet at The Dutch Pantry.

Each week, the guys read a chapter of a pre-chosen book in advance, highlighting things that stand out and jotting down any thoughts or questions they might have about the content.

The group has varied in size from as many as 18 to as few as 3. It probably averages 8-10.

The agenda of our gatherings is simple.

  1. Order breakfast.
  2. Share stories from your past week.
  3. Pray and eat breakfast.
  4. Discuss what stood out in the book.
  5. Hang out until you have to go.
  6. Leave a good tip and pay for your meal.

As we began, many guys were reluctant to join.

“Pastor Steve, I like breakfast,
but I’ve not read a book
since I finished high school.
And back then, I hated it.”

I encouraged them to give it a try, and to their credit they did.

So, here, a decade later, a list of books we’ve read include.

  1. Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas
  2. Rumors of Another World: What on Earth Are We Missing?, Philip Yancey (I’m not sure we finished this one.)
  3. A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines: 12 Habits to Strengthen Your Walk With Christ, Patrick Morley
  4. Uncommon, Tony Dungy
  5. For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women, Shaunti Feldhahn
  6. Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul, John Eldredge (We might have read this one twice.)
  7. The Love Dare, Stephen Kendrick
  8. Hero: Becoming the Man She Deserves, Fred Stoker
  9. Secondhand Jesus, Glenn Packiam
  10. A Traveler’s Guide to the Kingdom: Journeying Through the Christian Life, James Emery White
  11. No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice–Instead of Good–Hurts Men, Women and Children, Paul Coughlin
  12. The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of Christian Faith, Timothy Keller
  13. The Resolution for Men, Alex Kendrick · Randy Alcorn · Stephen Kendrick
  14. Who Do You Think You Are: Finding Your True Identity in Christ, Mark Driscoll
  15. When Will My Life Not Suck?: Authentic Hope for the Disillusioned, Ramon Presson
  16. The Explicit Gospel, Matt Chandler
  17. The Me I Want to Be, John Ortberg
  18. Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ with Bonus Content (Designed for Influence), Dallas Willard
  19. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, Timothy Keller
  20. Nudge: Awakening Each Other to the God Who’s Already There, Leonard Sweet
  21. Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms, Tim Tebow
  22. Seven Men and the Secret of their Greatness, Eric Metaxes

For a group of guys, many of whom said they don’t like reading, I think they are doing well.

What have you read lately?

You’re welcome to join us. Interest has grown so much that there are now two groups meeting. One Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. and one Tuesdays at 7 p.m. See me or Tim Smay for information.

-Pastor Steve

What Will Be Remembered

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Although FDR rightly described it as a day that would live in infamy, my mother, being 21 years of age, said to herself, “Ugh! War! Well, I will pay it no attention at all,” and set her mind to ignore it completely.

That worked for one day.glennandmarymilitarymarriage

On December 8, 1941, my father and mother met.

They fell in love and Dad was drafted to serve in the European Theater.

On December 12, 1942, just over a year later, they married.

The war Mom had resolved to ignore turned out to be the focus of her attention.

On October 16, 1944, Dad was wounded on the battlefield and had to be evacuated to England, and then returned home to the farm near Brookville, where he and mom lived a good life until he died in 2001.

It’s strange to imagine that one day people will regard these events in much the same way as I regard World War I or The War of 1812 — mere historic events, void of personal connection. It’s strange. Kind of sad. And a bit sobering.

We like to think that the memories of our loved ones will live on in the course of human history, but, as someone has rightly observed, our great-grandchildren will probably know nothing about us much beyond our names. Any knowledge beyond that will be merely trivial and quite impersonal. And choosing to ignore this reality is no more realistic than a 21-year-old choosing to ignore World War II.

But there is an event in human history that never fades and always remains personal. It’s the Advent of the Christ Child. This event — this divine life — is as personal to you and me as we want it to be. It can be as personal to us as it was to those who witnessed it firsthand, because what Jesus offers is a relationship with himself — the Risen King, the Living God.

On the wall of their home, Dad and Mom had a plaque that contained these words: Only one life; ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.

It’s good to recall days that live in infamy. It’s important to study human history. But here’s something I constantly remember — what lasts throughout eternity has Christ at the center.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable.
Always work enthusiastically for the Lord,
for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT).