I grew up in a broken home but saw my Dad daily since he was a teacher at my high school. I distinctly remember the day my dad discovered I was dating a girl of a certain reputation and literally followed my bus home so he could convince me to break up with her!
I didn’t. I should have...
2020 was a banner year for disappointments.
How do you handle life when things don’t go your way? Do you rage in angry outbursts? Do you live vicariously through your TV monitor? Do you dive into your favorite comfort foods? Or numb your mind through marijuana, alcohol, or other substances?...
What is a personal mission statement?
I’m glad you asked. It is a dynamic strategy that captures your best understanding your unique, God-given, contribution to this world during your short stay. It is a tapestry of all the things you love and have experienced wrapped into one statement under 50 words.
It provides a prayer path through the many blessings and tragedies in life. It is a compass. It is a visual reminder of why you exist on this planet, region, and unique time in history. A personal mission statement provides vision, direction, and reasons to say no to good things in order to do great things for God.
It will help you stay on track during times of stress and testing. It provides the decision-making grid to navigate. It points out areas where intentional growth and mentoring are needed to achieve the most impact. And it serves as a personal call to arms, helping you stay mission minded amidst the plethora of daily distractions.
I firmly believe Psalm 20:4 is for us today, “May He grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose!” A quarter of a century ago I crafted my first mission statement, 44 words that has hardly changed. Here it is...
So, my friend, who are you? Every man who deeply desires God’s best must answer this question of questions.
Let me rephrase the question before you trap yourself in some generic Christian cliché. Besides being a child of God, how has God uniquely crafted you? How are you a gift to this world? The answer to this question is found in your hand. In the story of God calling Moses out of a burning bush to lead the captive Israelite nation’s Exodus, God asks Moses “What is that in your hand?”...
Social Distancing, Isolation, and Addiction
We have been on varying levels of shutdown in the USA due to COVID-19 since March, and the weight of these shutdowns is not only weighing on our economy and the education of our children but for countless men, it has resulted in domestic abuse and addiction relapse. At some point, the government must weigh the cost of countless lives lost in the wake of these shutdowns.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, spikes in drug and alcohol abuse use have been recorded since March. In late April/early May, the Addiction Policy Forum (APF) conducted a survey of 1,079 people with addictions nationwide on how they were being impacted by the pandemic. Twenty percent of the respondents reported that their own or a family member’s substance use had increased since the social isolation was put in place.
Three-quarters of the APF survey respondents reported emotional changes since the beginning of the pandemic, especially increased worry (62%), sadness (51%), fear (51%), and loneliness (42%). These emotions increase the risk for relapse and unfortunately circumstances since the pandemic has made peer support, for instance in 12-step meetings and similar groups, much more difficult.
An analysis of a nationwide sample of 500,000 urine drug test results conducted by Millenium Health also showed steep increases for cocaine (10% increase), heroin (13% increase), methamphetamine (20% increase), and non-prescribed fentanyl (32% increase).
2020 Hindsight is 20/20
Last year was unprecedented in so many ways. Where many struggled, with God's blessing 2020 was Men in the Arena's best ministry year to date. All of these goals were set at our annual Board of Directors Course Setting Retreat that we have every January. Below are some bulleted highlights from 2020.
- Obtained Wordserve Literary as our book agent
- Are negotiating a publishing contract with Five Stones Press
- Online auction "audible" raised $10,000 more than all previous fundraisers.
- Finished two books that will be released in 2021
- Started a weekly service for local men called the "Arena Gathering"
- Joined the Board of Directors of the National Coalition of Ministries to Men
- Men in the Arena Podcast had downloads from 122 nations
- The Instagram following grew from 300 to over 4,100
- Several posts had over 15,000 likes
- Financial Champion team is the strongest it has ever been
- Paid staff team grew from two to six
- Our new online assessment is weeks away from being released on our website. We believe God will use it to reach one million men.
As a pastor for decades, I have horror stories of things people say to those suffering grief. A high school gal in my youth group was grieving the suicide of her Christian mother when a woman from church approached her at the funeral and said...
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