Sep 18, 2020
Creating a Crisis in Your Life to Avoid One
An Average Joe, or Is It Jay?
Several times a year we strategically invite the “Average Joe” on the Men in the Arena Podcast. They have never written a book. They do not travel the country public speaking. They do not have a huge social media following.
But they are heroes. They are what every man should aspire to when we read about the qualifications of leadership in the Pastoral Epistles that Gene Getz so brilliantly wrote about in his classic, The Measure of a Man. They have stepped out of the anonymous bleachers and into the Arena.
Because they get it—everyone wins
My friend Jay Penton is one of those men. Jay, 53, was part of the Panama Invasion, served in the Gulf War, is a State Trooper in Alabama, and is an ordained Deacon and the Pastor of Men’s Ministry in his church. In his free time, he monitors our Facebook Forum as an Arena Coach.
He has a heart of gold and. I’m proud to call him my friend although our relationship has only been through Zoom!
But Jay hasn’t always been that way.
Sep 11, 2020
A Game-Changing Prayer from an Obscure “Collector”
Toys in the Attic and God of the Universe
He had just turned 14 and had hitched a ride from his basketball coach after practice. In hand was a birthday present from a teammate, “Aerosmith’s 1975 classic, Toys in the Attic that has sold over 8 million copies. Unexpectedly his basketball coach, a Christian, started sharing the Gospel of Jesus with him. Annoyed at this blatant violation he politely said to his coach, “I was raised Catholic and already agree with what you are saying. When my parents got divorced my mom told me I would never have to go to church again. And I don’t plan on it.”
Then, in a sentence, this basketball coach changed his young players’ life without either of them knowing it, “Christianity is not about going to church. It’s about having a relationship with God.”
Years later that sentence would be the impetus that would motivate this man. That coach was the Men in the Arena Vice President, Gary McCusker, and that 14-year-old kid was me.
The epiphany that God wanted to know me personally rocked me to the core and has been the basis of my faith ever since. From that day on, I have never seen myself as a “religious” man although, yes, I attend church regularly and worked at one for more than two decades!
Prayer has and continues to change my life. Every good thing and idea has come from prayer and every time I spend time in prayer I come out with a note pad full of great things that I believe are from God.
Sep 4, 2020
Perspectives of Reconciliation from my Black Brother
My Brother Elmo
For the past several months I have had the privilege to serve on the NCMM (National Coalition of Ministries to Men) Board as the only Director this side of the Mississippi River. I have the privilege or rubbing shoulders with some amazing men’s ministries leaders like: Clair Hoover (Executive Director), Brian Doyle Iron Sharpens Iron National Men’s Conferences), Jim Whitmore (FamilyLife), Rod Handley (Character Counts), Chris Van Brocklin (Evangelical Free Church National Men’s Ministries), and Scott Haima (Christian Service Brigade), and Elmo Winters (KINGDOM Group International).
Elmo lives in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area where he leads the KINGDOM Group International, an organization dedicated to racial healing, unity and reconciliation utilizing the life-changing Gospel of Christ. The KINGDOM Group hosts events to bring diverse groups together for dialogue and relationship building. Elmo also serves on the boards of Gulf South Men of Louisiana, Louisiana Lagniappe Country Walk to Emmaus, and the Mercy Education Foundation of Liberia, Africa.
He has the most balanced perspective of the turmoil in our country that I have heard yet and is passionate about sharing his perspective of racial reconciliation. For a “white guy” like myself, it was a breath of fresh air to listen to Elmo’s Biblical perspective of the turmoil happening in our country.
Aug 28, 2020
3 Things Men Must Do to Become Their Best Version
The Manhood Journey
This week we highlight the interview with my friend, Kent Evans. Kent is the founder of a great ministry for fathers and sons called The Manhood Journey where fathers are specifically equipped to lead their sons from childhood into adulthood. We spent the lion’s share of our time discussing a book he wrote about mentors that impacted his life appropriately titled, Wise Guys.
Where Manhood Journey equips fathers, Wise Guys chronicles impactful men in Kent’s life and what he learned from each. My favorite quote from the book was not about mentoring but fathering. Kent wrote, “My kids may or may not acknowledge that I was the best father they could’ve had—but I’d love for them to acknowledge that I was the best father I knew how to be.”
All we can give those we love is the best we have to offer, which is different for every different man. Jocko Willink with Eschelon Front posted a recent meme that said, “All you can give is all that you’ve got.”
So true in life, marriage, and fathering. Here are three things every man who wants to be his best version should implement asap.
Aug 21, 2020
Death, Loss, and Divorce Insights from an Average Joe
Average Joes Arena Heroes
Several times a year we strategically invite the “Average Joe” on the Men in the Arena Podcast. They have never written a book. They do not travel the country for public speaking. They do not have a huge social media following.
But they are heroes. They are what every man should aspirate to be based on the qualifications of leadership in the Pastoral Epistles that Gene Getz so brilliantly wrote about in his classic, The Measure of a Man. They have stepped out of the anonymous bleachers and into the Arena.
Because they get it—everyone wins.
Not so Average Joe
I met Joe Myall in the late 1990s when he joined our youth ministry team at El Morro Church of the Nazarene in Los Osos, California, where he served faithfully until eventually moving to Washington with wife Robyn.
In 2015 Robyn was diagnosed with Stage-4 metastatic cancer of unknown origin and was given 2-3 months to live. She declined any diagnostic tests or treatment, opting for quality over quantity of life, and lived two-and-a-half years at home before passing away with her family at her side.
I spoke to Joe on numerous occasions as he battled through the grieving process and, by his admission, made some pretty poor decisions during that time, along with some pretty impressive ones. You can learn all about it on the Podcast.