Archives For General

Rescue Mission

James Dibben —  November 6, 2012
Sikorsky : SH-60 : Seahawk

Photo Credit: San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives

The electric bill

The gas bill

Fuel for the car

Christmas gifts

Cell phone bill

Five dollars for a school activity

Art classes

A new dress for your daughter

Tires for the car

Is anything louder than our finances? It doesn’t matter how much or little we have there is always something else that needs our financial attention. If we are not careful our finances have the ability to command our constant attention.

1 Peter 2:11

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers

Brothers this world is not our home. If we can only get that reality deep down inside of our spirits we have a chance to get our focus on the things that really matter. God has promised to care for our needs.

Matthew 6:25-33

25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

A few years ago I attended a great church, and one of the songs we sang had a fantastic chorus: “For our inheritance give us the lost.”

Evangelism is our real purpose here on this earth. We need to keep our focus on the things that matter. I realize that we have the responsibility to go to work and provide as well as possible for our families. We just cannot lose sight of what is of the most importance.

Matthew 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

During Jesus’ ministry He had to do the impossible; out of obedience Jesus held back the full power of his godhood so he could accomplish his mission here on earth.

Right before He ascended to heaven He made it clear that as of his resurrection he once again could use all of his authority granted to him through the trinity. Jesus was telling us that the gloves are now completely off. He was telling us that he would be our partner in accomplishing everything he was asking us to do.

We are not alone on this journey, and God has promised to be by our side through everything. He has promised to help provide for us. He has promised to give us the strength to accomplish everything He has asked us to accomplish.

Now it is up to all of us to ignore the things of this world which only serve to get us off our mission. Our mission is to reach the lost, and God promises to stand with us as we move forward in faith to accomplish what He has asked us to do.

Training:Record Keeping

Barry Young —  September 7, 2012

ManDurance-Training

Psalm 130:3

If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?

Why are you keeping a record of things that God isn’t keeping a record of?

The Bible clearly teaches, if we confess our sins to God(1 John 1:9) he will forgive us. However that is not the end of the story.

God completely wipes our record clean. So friend if God isn’t thinking about, or keeping a record of our sins and mistakes, we shouldn’t either!

Isn’t that good news?

Be blessed!

By Faith

James Dibben —  September 4, 2012
faith

Photo Credit: dview.us

In our men’s Sunday morning ManDurance Training (formerly called Sunday school) this last week I decided to explore a portion of scripture I have glanced over before but never took the time to really try and understand.

We took Hebrews eleven and studied the way three men of the Old Testament exercised their faith. You can get a copy of my leader’s guide HERE (PDF).

Hebrews 11:1-3
1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

2 This is what the ancients were commended for.

3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

We need God

I know it seems simplistic but the phrase, “We need God,” is a truth easily covered over by our society’s search for information. Because I am a heavy reader I find myself pulled into this trap. I want to lean into christian books as my source of spiritual help.

Of course it isn’t bad to be reading spiritually based books, but when we choose these books over our spiritual connection to God through the Holy Spirit, we are not operating in God’s will.

The answer to our questions are not found in information alone. We all know that even when we have all the best information many times we still don’t take it.

We are still spiritual beings engaged in a spiritual relationship.

We need God, not just more information.

It takes faith

Hebrews 11:4

4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

Faith alone is what made Able’s offering better than Cain’s. As far as we know God had not given any instructions on what kind of offering He expected from Cain or Abel. Livestock was just as acceptable to God as fruits and vegetables.

The writer of Hebrews states clearly in verse six: “without faith it is impossible to please God.”

It is our faith, not what we have, that pleases God.

Obedience

Hebrews 11:7

7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

Noah’s faith was displayed in his obedience. Noah risked looking foolish to remain obedient to God’s commands.

Genesis describes Noah as, “a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.”

Noah was willing to look foolish in the eyes of the world because his relationship was so close to God. Noah built a boat in the middle of the desert, with no way to even get it to water. Noah’s faith was displayed through his obedience.

Resurrection

Hebrews 11:19

19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

Of all we studied this last Sunday this was the verse that changed me the most. The author of Hebrews tells us that Abraham was prepared to witness God raise Isaac from the dead. In Abraham’s mind Isaac was a resurrected person.

Abraham believed God’s promise that he would be the father of a great nation. Abraham also believed God’s promise that Isaac would be that seed. The author of Hebrews teaches us that Abraham was ready and willing to slay his own son because he knew God would keep His promise not matter what Abraham was asked to do.

Abraham had faith in resurrection.

Our three advantages

We have three distinct advantages over these three men profiled in Hebrews eleven.

1. Holy Spirit
All three of these men faced their faith moments without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Certainly they all heard the audible voice of God. Still, when God was not directly speaking to them they had only the promises to hold on to. We on the other hand have the third person of the Trinity who desires to help direct our every move, if we will only allow Him to do so.

2. The Bible
None of these men had any record of those who had gone before them. They had to rely completely on God’s promises. The scariest time in anyone’s life is when they have to go first. That is something God is not asking any of us to do. These men all had to step out in faith when they had no knowledge of the trials and troubles of other believers before them.

3. Community
These men were all completely alone in their faith journey. Each of us are surrounded by a community of believers. Such an awesome opportunity we have to grow in this type of environment. We not only have the freedom to worship and follow God. We also have the freedom to join hands with our brothers in the Lord and walk this journey together.

Starting this month (September 2012) New Life has four men only small groups gathering all over eastern Jackson County in the Kansas City area. Visit our SMALL GROUPS PAGE to join one.

Setting the tone

James Dibben —  August 28, 2012

men's bbq

Last Thursday almost eighty men gathered at Pastor Todd’s house for our first all men’s BBQ.

We ate our fill of some fantastic BBQ and took a few minutes to worship together.

mens worship

Towards the end Pastor Todd shared his heart with us.

pastor todd shares his heart

The title of Todd’s message was “Setting the tone”.

It is so easy to just sit back and let life happen to us. We check in on Sunday mornings, and punch our religion card; returning back to our regular routine having done our duty.

Pastor Todd challenged us all to move past the normal expectations of men and set a new tone in our homes. Instead of waiting for someone else to lead our families into a more authentic relationship with Christ, pastor Todd challenged each of us to step forward, and be the difference makers he believes we are all meant to be.

At the end of his message pastor Todd asked each of us to sign up for a small group. A stack of yellow cards were placed on each table. Dozens of men picked up those cards and signed up to join a men only small group.

If you were unable to attend please take a moment right now, and visit our SMALL GROUPS page and check out the available groups. You can email me at james@mandurance.com and I will put you in contact with the group leader of your choice.

He never slumbers

James Dibben —  August 21, 2012

Blue Skies Never Stop

One of my morning verses this week hit me in a new way.

Psalm 121:1-3

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

I just love the second part of verse three, don’t you?

Imagine a Heavenly Father who watches over us in constant vigil. Imagine a God who never turns His eyes from His children.

For the word us I will change to the first person, and you should too!

As I get around in the morning God is watching over me. As I sit at a stop light contemplating how I will manage my day, God is looking upon me. While I rest in bed with my eyes closed, God is looking at me.

I have a hard time concentrating on one thing for more than a few minutes; maybe a few hours for a movie or something similar.

It is impossible for me to imagine God watching me for hours, days and even years, but He does.

Psalm 16:8

8 I have set the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

Be encouraged today! God is an ever vigilant watchman!

Finish Strong

James Dibben —  August 16, 2012
2012 Donovan Bailey Invitational

Photo Credit: Sandugo

I will be starting my third semester of college next week.

As I was finishing up my summer semester at the end of July I realized something about myself; maybe you can identify with it.

I do not start strong, and I never have started anything strong.

Maybe it is because I have a tendency to just jump into things without a lot of preparation. Maybe it is because it just takes me a while to figure new things out.

Either way, it is not so much how we start things that matter. Yes we want to be men who seek wisdom, from mentors, our pastors, or God’s word. We should have the goal of starting everything as prepared as possible.

We should also be willing to understand that every eventuality cannot be anticipated. The key to success is not always over preparation. Sometimes the key to success is tenacity and persistence.

The theme verse for ManDurance reveals a great truth.

Hebrews 12:1b

and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

Races built on endurance are not about speed. They are not about how someone gets off to a great start.

Have you noticed in the Olympics how the 1,500 meter races do not use the starting blocks? Have you noticed how all the runners are in a pack pacing themselves up until the last 100 meters?

This verse in Hebrews reminds us we are in a race built on endurance. This verse is not about starting strong.

It does not matter how any of us started the race we are in. It is how we finish this race that matters to God.

It is never too late to finish strong

help

Photo Credit: pangalactic gargleblaster and the heart of gold

For some reason, yesterday at work I experienced something I have not experienced in a while.

I had an overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety pour over me. I could not explain it. For some strange reason I felt something was just not right.

I went to my computer at my desk and pulled up YouVersion, and did a search for “do not fear“.

Here are my favorite verses from yesterday.

Deuteronomy 3:22 (NASB)
Do not fear them, for the Lord your God is the one fighting for you.

1 Peter 3:14 (NASB)
But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled,

Isaiah 51:7 (NASB)
“Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, A people in whose heart is My law; Do not fear the reproach of man, Nor be dismayed at their revilings.

Matthew 10:28 (NASB)
Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Deuteronomy 31:8 (NASB)
The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

1 Chronicles 22:13 (NASB)
Then you will prosper, if you are careful to observe the statutes and the ordinances which the Lord commanded Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and courageous, do not fear nor be dismayed.

1 Chronicles 28:20 (NASB)
Then David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.

Matthew 10:31 (NASB)
So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

I could have kept reading for a while. There are a lot of verses in God’s word about fear.

After finishing these verses I was completely free of any fear or anxiety. The day went off without a hitch.

God’s word, the bible, is the most powerful tool we can pick up. It needs to be where we turn any time we feel an attack of the enemy coming at us.

Nothing serious happened to me yesterday. It was not because it was a false alarm. It was because I claimed the truth of God over my situation.

Psalm 121:1-2 (NASB)
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?

My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

Trying Matters

James Dibben —  July 26, 2012
push

Photo Credit: Odalaigh

Several months ago I got this great idea. Okay, it was not my idea but it was a great one.

On my way home one day from work I ran by Mardel to pick up a youth devotional book. I found a really great one by Josh McDowell and purchased it.

I was really excited to get started doing devotions with my two teen daughters. I imagined their excitement every evening as we got together to do a devotional.

“Daddy, are we going to do a devotion tonight?”

Maybe it works like that in the homes of other families but it does not work that way around here.

I am not complaining about my daughters. They are both amazing in their own ways. They are just normal teen girls, and they do not spend their days in anticipation of when I am going to gather us together to do a devotional. They do not flat out refuse; I can just tell it is not their foremost thought.

As a result our devotional time has been sporadic to say the least. The evenings get away from us for various reasons. Since it is summer there are sleep overs, youth outings and other activities that have us all going in different directions.

Last week I was sharing my frustration with our lack of devotional time with my wife, Julie. She said something very profound; I want to share it with you.

“James, trying matters.”

I sat back in my chair as a wave of God’s truth flowed over me.

I am so results oriented that I sometimes lose site of the simple truth that just getting up, and doing something has value. Even if my girls never initiate our time together. Even if they act like it is the furthest thing from their minds. The fact that I put some effort towards mentoring them, and attempting to build a deeper relationship with them has value in itself.

Not everything we do has to bring about amazing results overnight.

Sometimes the value in what we are doing is, we are trying.

Welcome to ManDurance

James Dibben —  July 24, 2012

mandurance

I have spent the last four weeks trying to figure out what to write for this very first post for the ManDurance web site.

“How do I explain everything ManDurance is about in just one post?” I would ask myself.

No matter how much I thought or prayed about this post I still came up relatively empty.

The vastly profound answer to my recurring question is this one simple truth.

Answering the “About” question of ManDurance is like trying to put God into a box. There is no one single blog entry that can sum up what God can do in the lives of men, and their families, through men’s ministry.

No, it does not have anything to do with myself, or pastor Barry, or anyone else who decides to get involved in this ministry. It has to do with how big God is.

Abraham was 75 years old the first time God promised him a son. During the next 25 years God promised a son to Abraham more than 5 more times. Finally, in frustration, Abraham along with his wife devised a plan to bear a son outside of his own marriage. Abraham’s sin did not cancel out God’s promise. God’s promises are not like our promises. Our promises are subject to our sinful nature, and our ability to really mess things up. God’s promises are not so.

When God asked Abraham to get out of his tent, and look up at the stars He was sending a message to you and me. God doesn’t want us to put an eight-foot ceiling on what He can do in and through all of us, no matter how much we mess things up. God knew Abraham was going to try to fix his own life using his own power. God knew Abraham was going to take things into his own hands almost the very next day, and God still made this big promise to Abraham.

The ministry of ManDurance will serve a single purpose which holds deep and profound possibilities. ManDurance will encourage men to execute the mandate found in Hebrews 12:1.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (NASB)

It does not matter what any of us have done; God’s grace is bigger. It does not matter what mistakes from our past are trying to haunt us; God’s grace is bigger. God wants each of us to live our lives free of condemnation from our past mistakes. Regardless of what any of us have done God holds big plans for each of our lives. We need only to get back up, dust ourselves off, and lay hold of what He has already promised to us.

ManDurance is the men’s ministry of New Life Assembly of God in Oak Grove MO.

Our Mission: Encouraging men to run with endurance the race set before them.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays Pastor Barry will post a very short and quick devotional called: ManDurance Training

This will leave Tuesdays and Thursdays open for various writings by myself as well as updates relating to the ManDurance ministry in general.

Be sure to follow ManDurance on Facebook or myself on Twitter if you wish to receive updates via those platforms. You can also subscribe via email from the menu on the right.

Be sure to check the menu at the top of the page for ManDurance small groups meeting locations, dates and times. Check back regularly as more groups are coming soon.