Former Stanford student Brock Turner who was sentenced to six months in county jail for the sexual assault of an unconscious and intoxicated woman is shown in this Santa Clara County Sheriff's booking photo taken January 18, 2015, and received June 7, 2016. Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Brock Turner – A Message to My Sons and Daughters

To My Sons and Daughters,

As hard as I try to protect you from the evil in this world, I am sure by now, through social and traditional media you’ve come to learn the story of Brock Turner a young male student and athlete at Stanford University.

You’ve come to learn of the evil encounter he had with another young woman behind a garbage dumpster in the middle of the night.

You’ve come to learn the depravity Brock lowered himself to in taking advantage of a young woman sexually.

You’ve come to learn that as far as just punishment for your transgressions, maybe just maybe, justice was not fully served to Brock Turner for his actions that fateful night through the American system of justice.

You’ve come to read the young woman’s response.

Before your thoughts and internet searches take you any further – let me speak to you as your Father.

To my Sons:

Guys, take a moment and search your heart. As a man developing into an appropriate sexual being my heart tells me that deep down you revile what Brock did to this young woman. Within your heart you’ve come to judge his actions and determined what he did was quite monstrous.

Really?

Is that really what you think?

Do you catch yourself thinking: “Brock was a monster that night. I’d never do that. What an animal. He deserves worse!”

Then why my sons do you continually look at porn on the internet? Why do you look to satisfy your flesh in the images of men and women depraving themselves of common decency filming and getting paid to perform indecent sex acts?

Are you not as monstrous as Brock for simply viewing porn and acting out on it with the arm of your flesh?

Hey, don’t take my word for it:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” Matthew 5:28-30 (NASB)

Yeah, Jesus nailed it my sons. Cut out your eye and cut off your hand if they’re causing you to stumble sexually.

Simply because you have not committed the same heinous sexual act as Brock Turner that night, as my sons, I need to tell you – you are in your heart – if you are acting out sexually through internet porn and your selfish fleshly behavior.

Instead, think on this verse:

“In the same way, you husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way [with great gentleness and tact, and with an intelligent regard for the marriage relationship], as with someone physically weaker, since she is a woman. Show her honor and respect as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered or ineffective.” 1 Peter 3:7 (AMP)

Now I know you’re not married yet my sons, but someday you will be. In the meantime, it’s time to get prepared, prepared appropriately. As such, chew on this verse. Here are some highlights:

  1. Live with women in your life in an understanding way. Do you understand that you’re looking at porn keeps a significant gap between you and them?
  2. Live with women in your life as is they are symbolically weaker. I know, I know, our society is making women out to be equal to men and then some. But as my son, I want you in your heart and in your mind to regard them as weaker from the standpoint of, “How would I treat someone weaker than me, needing my genuine help?” It’s simply a point of view Jesus wants you to take on in that, your heart will treat people better, if you genuinely care for their better interests and well being.
  3. Honor the women in your life. How can you honor a woman? Two words: “Eyes up”. Look at her face, not her figure. That means your ears will be doing more work than your eyes. Trust me on this one.
  4. Respect the women in your life. How can you respect someone? It’s a carry over from #3 on this list: Listen to her. I literally have to count to three before I respond to your mother sometimes. Why? For the simple reason as a man I am a problem solver, and before your mother finishes what she is saying, I have the answer and want to hit the buzzer to show I am her hero with a solution in hand. Don’t do that. Let her talk, count to three before you respond TO ANYTHING and see if you need to say anything at all. Chances are, you don’t.
  5. Finally pray for the women in your life, at all levels. Whether they are your mother, sisters, friends or future bride. Accomplishing the first four tasks outlined in this letter from Peter you can see he’s telling you, “Guys, you want to increase the effectiveness of your prayer life, do some housecleaning with regards to the way you treat women. You’ll spiritually grease the skids to your prayers with God. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.”

There you go my sons. Please soak up what I’ve shared.

Now, as to reaching you my Daughters:

Girls, as your Father, my heart breaks for you as you’re reading these accounts from the courtroom drama, witness accounts and the media. I feel as if somehow the impenetrable wall I’ve tried to surround you with as a loving protective Father erodes daily.

You are precious to me. So let me go on record:

As your Daddy, while not physically doing what Brock did that night, early in formation of me as a sexual being and then the early years of my marriage I did partake in the evilness of internet porn that I’ve just warned my Sons about. I had to be broken of it through the exposure of it and reconciliation of it through my marriage to your mother.

Today I am reconciled. To God, to your mother and to my family.

Through all the static, through all the media hype over Brock Turner and even the shell of my former life, as your Daddy, I want you to know – you have immense value and worth.

I’m not the only one who cherishes you. There are honorable men, younger than me, maybe for you – who are seriously trying to cherish you.

There are men who see you, as the Lord God sees you: Precious and Unique. An ideal to uphold.

Yet, sometimes they are having trouble doing so.

Even as honorable men in your presence they are having trouble seeing you as the Lord sees you through the tight outfits you’re wearing, through the low-cut blouses you have on, the way you’re speaking ever more directly to them in person and ultimately through the texts they are receiving from you.

Please as my daughters, do not fall prey to victim mentality our culture is trying to drown you with as women. Through our media, through a divided set of sub-cultures you are being bombarded with the news all men are perverts. You’re being lambasted with all men want is to sexually play with you. You’re being told all men are pigs.

It’s pervasive, it’s overwhelming and it’s almost too big a set of messages to drown out and overcome as honorable men.

Or is it?

The challenge to my sons, to call Brock Turner a monster on one hand, while being involved in internet porn on the other hand is hypocritical at best. Would it not be an equal summation to you as my daughters that to call men pigs and perverts while dressing, acting and communicating inappropriately be the same conclusion? Simply one challenge for sons and one challenge for daughters parallel to one another.

Daughters, please set your sites on this woman:

Description of a Worthy Woman
10 An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She looks for wool and flax
And works with her [h]hands [i]in delight.
14 She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
15 She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And [j]portions to her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From [k]her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds [l]herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
18 She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her [m]hands grasp the spindle.
20 She [n]extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And [o]supplies belts to the [p]tradesmen.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the [q]future.
26 She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the [r]teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
29 “Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who [s]fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her the [t]product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:10-31 (NASB)

My Daughters, you have a hand in how you are seen and how you are valued. Like my Sons, who I am asking to treasure you, please treasure them in the way you dress and communicate. What I am talking about is reciprocal.

The case of Brock Turner has heightened in me the need to call both my sons and daughters equally to righteousness. In the end set your mind on things above. Do not focus on the sins of the people of this earth, their depravity or their actions which you revile.

Know that as my Sons and Daughters I cherish your worth daily and I expect of you to cherish others worth in my absence.

Your Loving Father

 

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The Church’s Reluctance to Process Failure and the Antidote

I’d been waiting for the call.

Painfully I wanted someone to ask me how I was doing. Someone to check in on me. Someone to see if I was ok and that everything was getting better.

Yet I never got one.

After 13 years leading nearly 1,200 mentors at pregnancy centers, speaking at countless banquets and even getting recorded on Focus On the Family by Jim Daly with a guy I’d personally mentored I resigned and stepped down from an organization I’d created. I’d followed a passion of mine I fired up a ministry that fit a niché and I got a lot of people to follow me as a non-profit leader.

The issue: I’d gotten into a wrestling match with my board of directors and I lost big-time.

Yet after stepping down, no-one called me. No-one checked on me or my family. After sending a letter to my entire donor base and even former board of director members that I’d be stepping down I did not receive a phone call, email or text asking how I was doing.

That was until yesterday, nearly two and half years later…

“Kurt buddy, how are you doing with stepping down at Guys For Life and how are you processing failure?”

In joyful shock I told my friend Steve, “Brother, you have no idea how comforting that question is. For more than two and a half years I’ve been waiting for someone to ask how I am doing. To have the guts to challenge me on failure and more. An here you are asking me today. Praise God.”

From there I shared with Steve what God’s been doing in my heart. How he has returned me as a father to the hearts of my bride and children. How losing the battle with my board was the best thing, and though I disagreed with the way they handled things in 2013, I could see how God used them like Cherubim with flaming swords to keep me from creeping back into the garden I’d made know as Guys For Life. If I’d snuck into that former role, they would have killed me, and rightfully so.

You see, Steve wants to go further with God. He wants to pursue his passions, maybe it’s his calling and he’s trying to figure things out.

Reflecting on his own personality he saw similarities to mine, and though we’d only spoken a handful of times over the years, Steve called to get my personal advice on some of his next moves wanting to serve men in Christ.

We spoke for an hour. He’d speak, I’d listen. I’d speak, then he’d listen. It was a great time to chew the possibilities.

Yet, in doing so, Steve unlocked two important areas of my heart:

  1. First, he gave me a conduit to discuss my failures and process them more.
  2. Second, he gave me a chance at redemption, demonstrating I had value in God’s eyes by asking my advice.

In The Church today, we as a body, have the hardest time at processing failure. That is, regardless a person’s failure as a new convert or long-time meat eater, we as The Church do not look kindly, nor to the best of our abilities work on restoring a brother or sister in sin, after an honest mistake gone misunderstood and more.

As Pastor Mike Chesire wrote in an article for Christianity Today in July of 2013 titled: We Need To Stop Eating Our Own he shared:

Despite what you will hear from some religious leaders in today’s church culture, the average Christ-follower walking out the door is not weak, unwilling to commit, or intrinsically selfish.

The vast majority of these Christians are leaving for two main reasons: First, and foremost, they are tired of being treated harshly by other Christians. Second, they feel the church has lost relevance to its community and to what they are going through in their everyday lives.

Catch that? The first reason people leave The Church is not because of preaching, teaching, elder issues, etc. but rather – they are tired – of being treated harshly by other Christians in The Church.

Yeah, as a leader I bombed. I trusted in my own power. I did not listen well to others at times and was a serious ‘driver’. Maybe even unapproachable due to an overconfident spirit. So I get that people may not want to talk to me, thinking (and I wholeheartedly assume this) “Kurt will never listen. He’s so convinced he’s right.”

Yup, that was me. Good talker – bad listener.

In spite of that, I can tell you the immense pain in not hearing from anyone, or at least people I thought would contact me. The silence get’s you thinking, “Is this how I respond when I see people fail? Do I get what I want from them (like a luscious banana) and when I view them as refuse (the leftover peel) go about throwing them out, seeing them as garbage and nothing but waste should they slip up in any way? Maybe other people view me that way?”

Yet, when Steve asked me how I was doing, how I was processing failure he helped shore up a spiritual truth, that is:”But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)

By asking me how I was doing and digging deeper Steve unlocked the area of my heart needing restoration. Through talking, he encouraged me. Through listening he lifted me up. Through processing it all, with him and Christ as the chord of three strands, I am protected against sin’s deceitfulness.

Amazingly I agree with Andy Woods list of 9 reasons Why the Church shoots Its Wounded. Paraphrased:

  1. It saves time and money – It’s easier to read someone a tract, then get involved and invest in their life.
  2. It makes the Gospel harder to sell to the community – Church is messed up, who wants to follow our example?
  3. Sometimes they have to pick sides – We don’t always support victims.
  4. They’re hurt – Even leaders are hurt, not just sheep.
  5. Pride – Helping someone might infer ‘guilty by association’.
  6. Desire – We want life easy, not slowed down by messed up saints.
  7. Fear – Like a scared dog, we ‘Bark’ at the wounded, because we are scared.
  8. They confuse forgiveness with approval –  Treating someone as if they had never sinned seems to be approving of the sin itself.
  9. They’re just as disconnected with God as the wounded soldier. – We just don’t know how to say it.

Yet this is where we find ourselves in 21st century America. Eating our own, shooting our wounded and as The Church exuding a reluctance to process failure.

After Steve allowed me to speak, to share my story, to hear what God is doing and lead me through the process of discussing failure, he added one more component: He asked for my advice.

What?

I remember asking myself, in my head before I went on, ” Don’t you remember Steve, I bombed in ministry, I blew things up – yet you want my advice?”

Steve broke through the barrier when he said, “Kurt I hear your heart, you didn’t have a moral failure. You may have been headstrong in your leadership, however, I hear you’ve grown immensely since stepping down. From where I sit I see you mentored thousands of men to reach others, save children from abortion and lead people to share the Gospel. Where’s the failure in that?”

He than asked for my advice on men’s leadership and Gospel issues.

Like those of us members who are the Body of Christ, The Church itself on earth, Steve ignored the temptation eat his own, to shoot the wounded and fought the reluctance to process failure. In that hour Steve held the hand of Christ, and then held mine. One spirit, united, connected, forgiving and redemptive.

Think about it.

TAKE AWAYS:

  1. ACCEPT THERE WILL BE FAILURE – If you’re the least bit truthful, recognize you fail and you fail often. Then, openly allow EVERYONE else you know to fail without your continual judgment.
  2. REACH INTO THE LIVES OF THOSE THAT HAVE FAILED – As a Christ follower live out Hebrews 3:16 and encourage a brother or sister to the point they are guarded from sins deceitfulness through your loving faithfulness.
  3. REDEEM PEOPLE WHO FAIL BY VALUING WHAT THEY ARE THINKING – It’s a process I call, “Honor the Man” and you can see Jesus doing it in all four Gospels where he honors the one speaking, by listening intently to them, regardless their sin position. Try it.

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

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Joy Through Suffering – How A Couple In Unexpected Pregnancy Makes It

This last week was incredibly tough.

Thursday-Friday of last week my lovely bride Heidi and I suffered a painful blow to the heart through losing another child to miscarriage. This is our seventh child to bypass this world altogether. There are not many words to fill the holes, close the gaps and truly relieve the pain of such a personal loss.

As the father of ten children and two grandchildren, now with the loss of our seventh child on top of it all, one or two close friends of mine have asked me, “How do you do it? How do you keep going on with your vision for family after such a painful loss?”

And then it hit me.

My answer to that question is not very far off from how a young couple does facing a similar question when facing an unexpected pregnancy.

Our answer and their answer to “How do you dot it?” is exactly the same.

Our answer is HOPE.

Let me compare the two versions of HOPE by sharing a piece of Heidi’s and my personal story.

As a 19 year old kid in 1986, starting college, full of vigor, I mistakenly thought I was the ‘Cat’s meow’. Heidi, my girlfriend was a 17 year old woman in high school, full of academic potential and was also a literal knock-out. Together, we both lived life as if we were bullet-proof and enjoyed every moment we had together to the full. When I say full, I mean full – as in – sharing all of the benefits of a married relationship when we were not married.

So it should come as no surprise that after a few months of dating we ended up as a pregnant couple.

What made it work for us then (having our fist child and then starting a family) and the core reason we are still together today (almost 30 years later) is the HOPE we have in God and the HOPE we have in one another. Yes we fail and we fail a lot. Yes, it’s also true that I have blown it way many more times than Heidi. But in the end, we always have HOPE that whatever we are experiencing has a solid purpose and a core reason for our growth.

Fast forward that HOPE to today and the loss of our seventh child.

In a world consumed by selfishness – children – or the thoughts of bringing children into this world (dare I say) are mired, weighed down and frowned upon for a whole host of reasons that at their core stem from pure human selfishness. Topics such as world population, world economics, world resources, world this and world that reign supreme. We live in a world consumed by the world, and well, children (from a worldly view) may impact that world negatively.

What in the world? (Tongue in cheek)

Years ago, lead by a personal study Heidi was doing, we both came to a place and developed a vision of giving over our family size as our spiritual act of worship to God. We’d seen how we both treated the subject of birth control as a tool to simply meet our own selfish ends. While it would have been easy to look out at the world and say, “The world is so selfish, we’re going to do this act of worship to go against the grain.” No friends, it was only after a close study of our own behavior, our own actions that we were convicted of activity as a couple – just me and Heidi. At the conclusion of our self-reflection and prayer we came together ‘as one’ and we agreed one of the most intimate ways we could truly worship God is to present God ‘our family womb’ as true  act of spiritual worship. So we gave him our family size right on the spot.

We’d seen in His word how time after time He opened and closed the wombs of Godly people following Him. So for us, if we as a couple were one in our thinking, “Why would He not do the same with us as obedient worshipers?” If God is real, why not worship Him really?

The very first time we became pregnant after making this decision we lost our first child. Young in faith, young in marriage I can truly say that loss was not a big blow like I’d imagined it would be. Painful yes, but just a small pain. Why? My take is that we were pregnant so shortly after and the joy of this new pregnancy consumed the pain of the first. Plus our hope was fresh. We’d seen God’s people have a great perspective on wins-vs-losses.

After losing ALL his children and ALL his property in an attack by Satan, we’d seen Job had a great perspective that gave us HOPE. “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:20-21 (ESV)

Yet the following verse in Job became our invisible family mantra deep down “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” Job 1:22

Since 1996 we’ve been pregnant 15 times. Eight children are with us now and seven have gone on to be with God as His worshipers. We had victories and we have had loss. Through all of it, the vision Heidi and I share, to give over our womb as a spiritual act of worship, and regardless what WE WANT If God is God then He can do as He pleases with us and in the end, should we have a child born or one lost to miscarriage, we will not charge God with wrong.

This is our HOPE.

It’s no different then when a young couple faces an unexpected pregnancy.

Think about it.

When they have a vision built on HOPE, that their world can get better, that this life IS NOT as bad as what others are telling them – they will strive for a better outcome by accepting responsibility for their pregnancy, care for one another, care for their child – and quite possibly – care for starting a family together.

That is their HOPE.

Where do they get that HOPE? (The Sunday School answer is God) but the real answer is you and me.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, SO THAT we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (ESV)

Get it? You and I have HOPE because we’ve been delivered HOPE and it’s our job to keep delivering HOPE because they need HOPE.

Even though Heidi and I have tremendous pain in the loss of children to miscarriage, even though people let us down, even though this world is full of disappointment and tremendous suffering, YOU AND I MUST DELIVER HOPE if God is going to get GLORY and be made REAL and VIABLE to a desperate world in need.

For me and Heidi, we follow this simple biblical equation:

SUFFERING PRODUCES CHARACTER – CHARACTER PRODUCES HOPE – HOPE PRODUCES GLORY

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:1-11

This is how we as a couple have been comforted. How we have been given a vision of HOPE, and ‘come what may’ have purposefully decided as a couple to continually deliver HOPE to others in need. Our place to deliver that HOPE is with the 5M kids ages 15-24 who are facing unexpected pregnancy this year just like we did in 1986.

Think about it.

How can you deliver HOPE today?

 

UPDATE

 

 

DAD BACK

Disciple Makers – Don’t Love Their Opinion Over Others

In 2002 I was called into leadership at a local pregnancy care center in St. Louis. Before I served a single male client in unexpected pregnancy – an unresolved sin in my heart  – soon became apparent to the staff, yet was hidden from me.

That is, as a guy understanding his spiritual gifts, one of them being the gift of prophecy (To Exhort, Console and Lead the Body of Christ BACK to what she should be doing) I leveraged my gift inappropriately. Instead of loving The Body of Christ I fell short as a leader and loved my opinion more than people or anything.

Everywhere you turned at the center, be it a meeting, the way I adorned my office to the very working with male clients my opinion, and how highly I held to it, painfully projected itself on everything my eyes could cover. You can’t make disciples loving your own opinion more than you love other people.

In our case, we were bringing in male clients to a pregnancy care center (not the ideal environment for guys) where any move we make – be it furnishings, letterhead, the way the place smells and even how the staff behaves towards male clients could send them running out the door. All they need is one single reason to run – and they’re gone.

One male client in particular rings a painful bell.

His name was Tim. Unlike the majority of male clients visiting our center, whom wanted their girlfriend to go through with an abortion (so they could pursue their dreams) this guy wanted to man up as a Daddy. His girlfriend however wanted an abortion. So he set an appointment with our office to come talk. Being the lead male mentor and program director, he was assigned to me.

I remember the front desk clerk ringing me in my office that my appointment arrived. I ok’d her to send him back. While I was knee deep in preparing a Powerpoint presentation, with my back turned towards my office door – I smelled him. Yes, I smelled him before I saw him. As I turned around all I could see was a greasy teen, in leather, hat backwards covered in tattoos and piercings. In my head, and thankfully inaudible, I said, “Why the Hell would anyone want to do this to themselves?”

From there Tim told me his story. The incredible lengths he’d gone to pleading with his girlfriend to have the baby and give their relationship a chance to work. It went on for 45 minutes. While he spoke out loud at a decibel well within my range of hearing it was as if it was all static. I did not, repeat, did not hear a single thought he shared. All I did was form a strategy for what I thought he needed.

It was March of 2004 and The Passion Of The Christ by Mel Gibson just came out and our church was giving away tickets for members to invite people to the movie. I had two in my pocket and was scheduled to take my bride Heidi with me the same night and day I saw Tim in the office.

Instead of listening to Tim’s heartfelt plea for realistic help, I opined that what he really needed was a savior in Jesus Christ. I mean, that’s what this is all about anyway, right? Bringing people the Gospel was all that mattered and using a pregnancy care center as a stepping stone to do so was the truth.

So I leap-frogged over what Tim shared for 45 minutes and at the end I asked him if he wanted to go to a movie that night and talk more. Tim, for his part, thought I was caring and listening. Yet, deep down, I’d already cut him off at the pass and put together an alternate plan.

We met at the theater and I told him what movie we were seeing. He told me he was raised in a broken Christian home and that he was still unsure about Jesus, The Church and all that jazz. Do you think I listened to him say that? Nope, I blew right by it saying he’d be ok. We entered the theater and the movie began.

For the next 127 minutes we watched Jesus get brutally flogged, beaten and crucified like no other film ever put together. I was a quivering mess by the time the credits rolled and soon began to realize I’d made a huge mistake.

As we exited the theater to talk I tried as best I could to switch gear AWAY from what we’d just witnessed and tried to call up in my mind what Tim and I were meeting as mentor and male client was all about. Tim was having none of it. I remember him saying, ‘I don’t know whether to say I love you or hate you for taking me to this movie.” We spoke for another 3-5 minutes and he was gone.

I tried calling his cell phone the next day and got voice mail. I tried the day after, and after, and after never getting a response. I don’t know if Tim and his girlfriend became parents. I don’t know if they split up. I don’t know if they had an abortion. All because I loved my opinion more than my fellow man.

Why am I writing you this? Why does it matter? Don’t I as a Christian leader and speaker know that people want more POSITIVE writings than they do POINTED writings?

Yup, I sure do.

Yet, I’ve never held to the belief to give the Body of Christ sugar, when it needs meat.

Today I found myself on Facebook taking the enemy’s bait to get into an opinion and position contest with another brother in Christ. Today I saw the wages of my sin was death and I saw there could be a death in my relationship with my brother in Christ, whom I love. And it reminded me of a sin issue I’ve carried (maybe my own thorn in my flesh) all the way back to a client named Tim.

Please read:

“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:22-26 (ESV)

My youthful passion is to fight. To fight with my opinion. As a Disciple Maker it’s caused me to NOT pursue righteousness, NOT rely on Faith, NOT love and NOT be at peace.

I took today’s Facebook bait as a new beginning to again build a quarrelsome spirit.

As HIS servant, guess what. I am NOT supposed to be quarrelsome, but rather I am to be kind to EVERYONE. Yes, the word says EVERYONE. I must be able to be taught, even as a leader. I am patiently to endure evil (not avoid it of gripe about it). I am to correct my opponents with gentleness. On Facebook, I admit, I’m not all that gentle.

As a result, as a disciple maker, if I love my brother, more than my opinion, God’s word promises they may be granted repentance, come to truth, may come to their senses and could possibly escape the snare of the devil – AFTER – they’ve been captured by him to do his will.

Whoa – you mean that by LOVING PEOPLE MORE THAN MY OPINION could possibly leave room for God to do HIS work and NOT ME?

Unbelievable.

Think about it.

 

fatherhood quiz

Friday Afternoon Fatherhood Quiz

It’s Friday afternoon.

Sure, you could be filing that report your boss wants, however, you’re here on the web with us. Why not take our Friday Afternoon Fatherhood Quiz and see if you’ve got what it takes.

The winner will be heralded on the AFGL FB page Friday night and Saturday morning. Surely 13.5 minutes of fame.

REMEMBER: “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

Enjoy this day.

FATHERHOOD FACTS

great-dad

3 Reasons WHY You Would Do Well To Work With Fathers

“More than 80% of Millennial and Boomer dads agree that raising children brings them a lot of happiness and 75% look for ways to create long-lasting memories with them.”

Larissa Faw – Contributor, Forbes Magazine (6/14/2012)

 Millennial men WANT to be great dads. If you’re doing your research, you’ll also discover that more than position, money – even marriage – millennial men want to create great families and want to be awesome fathers. As a service organization, if you’re only working with women and excluding men – you’re missing half the equation and diminishing your rate of return for:

  • Client Impact
  • Families
  • Volunteers
  • Donors

 

CASE IN POINT: Pregnancy care centers. The gloves are off and numbers don’t lie. Facts, if true, are inarguable. When it comes to men an unexpected pregnancy consider the following three bits of information:

EXHIBIT A

PRC St. Louis survey, 2001 (94 Post Abortive Women w/ 143 abortions)

QUESTION: What was the greatest source of pressure on you to abort?

ANSWER:

  1. The Boyfriend
  2. My Husband
  3. My Father

 

(54% of women responded MEN more than any other source)

QUESTION: What factor at the time of your experience would have helped you choose life for your child?

ANSWER:

  1. 81% – If I had support from the boyfriend
  2. 60% – If I had access to a pregnancy care center

 

(21% more women shared support from the boyfriend superseded access to a pregnancy care center)

EXHIBIT B

Third Box survey, October 2013 (2,404 women aged 18-35)

QUESTION: “Now, imagine you find yourself in an unplanned pregnancy. Below are some different things that you might seek in an unplanned pregnancy. On a scale of 1 to 10 please rate how important each of the following would be to you personally, where 1 means it is NOT IMPORTANT AT ALL to you personally and 10 means it is VERY IMPORTANT to you personally.”

ANSWER (RANK):

  • 79% Emotional Support from my partner, spouse or boyfriend
  • 74% Medical Information
  • 72% Medical Doctor’s Help
  • 70% Pregnancy Information
  • 70% Financial Support

EXHIBIT C

Guys For Life survey of PCC Directors, March 2012 (100 respondents)

QUESTION: What are the four greatest benefits of starting a men’s program at your center?

ANSWERS:

  1. 85% of Abortion minded men choose life instead of abortion when mentored by a another guy.
  2. 79% of men who accept responsibility for fatherhood start a family instead of abandoning the woman and child.
  3. 100% of pregnancy care directors centers agree that mentoring men reduces the number of single moms.
  4. 50% of men encountered by a mentor go onto to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Using the backdrop of one not-for-profit sector (pregnancy care centers) who work with a captive audience of women impacted by men it is plain to see working with men would go well for them – if they aren’t.

What about your organization?

Do you have the capacity to work with fathers, especially millennial men? If so, what could be similar results you could active or greater?

Think about it.

The Greatest Joy To Training Mentors – It’s Not What You Think

READING TIME: 2 MINS :58 SECONDS

For 13+ years I have been blessed to train mentors from New York to LA.

Men from around the country have stepped forward to active a new level of personal and spiritual success. From different walks of life, various backgrounds and insurmountable odds men have come forward to submit themselves to God’s leading through training and I have seen some serious transformation.

With a ministry dedicated to the subject of men standing up during an unexpected pregnancy and leading men to be fathers, one might assume, that my greatest joy is seeing Daddy’s man-up.

Believe it or not, helping Daddy’s is a close second.

What really gets me going is what I call the “Ananias/Saul Syndrome”

Look at this (observe what’s in BOLD):

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest  and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!

“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.Acts 9:1-19 (NIV)

THE ANANIAS/SAUL SYNDROME DEFINED:

  1. Saul is chasing down persecuting and murdering Christians.
  2. Ananias, a disciple of Christ, observes this behavior and naturally fears for his life.
  3. God calls Ananias to be ‘the one’ to heal Saul and set him on his way for The Church.
  4. Ananias argues with God and doubts God, however, eventually obeys and delivers the good news.
  5. Ananias greets Saul as BROTHER, heals him and witnesses Saul then become Paul, and fire up the Church! Boom!

 

WHY THIS IS MY GREATEST JOY IN TRAINING MENTORS:

  1. Many young men are running around clueless as to the personal damage they are doing in their and other peoples lives.
  2. Thousands of Christian men are observing this behavior and like Ananias have formed a bad opinion of them.
  3. God is calling these same men to be the very ones to deliver good news to men in unexpected pregnancy and to set them on their way for a great life.
  4. Like Ananias many men argue with and doubt God that they are the one to help yet they also eventually obey and begin delivering good news.
  5. Totally submitted to God they greet men as BROTHERS, bring emotional healing and witness young men RISING UP as Fathers and new Christians! BOOM!

 

The greatest joy I have in training so many men as mentors is to watch men, like me at one time, go from a place of disbelief to absolute abandonment in Christ and to see the fruit of their work. It is this place, where true transformation occurs (UPSTREAM) that a newfound father in unexpected pregnancy can be affected (DOWNSTREAM).

Think about it.

 

 

women

Unexpected Pregnancy – Is It a “Girls Only” Club?

“When we fear things I think that we wish for them … every fear hides a wish.”

DAVID MAMET, Edmond

I’d just started my work to train mentors to work with men in unexpected pregnancy when I encountered the most profound meetings with a pregnancy care center staff member. Janee, on staff at PASS, called me while I was preparing to ship brochures to centers that had ordered them.

She’s heard about the organization I’d founded to train mentors and equip pregnancy care centers which sometimes altered pregnancy care center strategies, so Janee’s interest was piqued and she called to learn more.

It was one of the most revealing calls – for both of us.

I learned that Janee had faithfully been serving on the staff at Pass for many years. Just outside of Chicago PASS had run centers dedicated to women in unexpected pregnancy for years. However, Janee had a burden to learn about working with men, which she could only describe, as a burden placed on her heart by God himself.

We spoke in agreement to the value of working with male clients at a pregnancy center and also highlighted:

  • For every pregnant girl – there’s a guy in the background.
  • The centers we’d worked with saw an increase in donations.
  • Current female volunteers experienced a renewal of faith seeing men purposefully serve.
  • Centers increased their community footprint and networking ability when other organizations learned of their new services including men.
  • Volunteers more than doubled in number.

 

So naturally after speaking for 45 minutes in a concert of agreement that it simply made sense to work with men through a pregnancy care center Janee naturally asked, “Ok, so where do we start?”

I’d be lying if I did not tell you I got a lump in my throat and actually wanted to avoid this question.

How could I, the guy promoting to more than 4,500 pro-life Gospel centered pregnancy care centers and like minded organizations the dire importance of working with men, NOT want to answer Janee’s question.

Let me show you, read this: Acts 2:14-39 You see, at Pentecost Peter had to lay a serious smack down on the crowd and get their attention. Their Godly Attention that is.

He told the people in flat-out more than certain terms that YOU – the people of Israel – YOU were the ones who Crucified Jesus and put him to death. The word says “he raised his voice” means by our terms today he SUPER-SIZED his message to the importance and validity of who Christ was-is and Israel’s direct role in his crucifixion.

The crowd’s response?

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?

Peter’s response to them?

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”

It’s that first word, REPENT, that in my flesh I did not want to deliver to Janee. So in response to her question of, “Ok, where do we start?” Can you guess what I said? If you said I told her to REPENT  you’d be 100% correct.

“Janee, before you and the staff at PASS can start a men’s program, I’m going to suggest you do something. That is, I suggest you REPENT. Repent of the fact that you know you should be working with men and as an organization have willfully and purposefully NOT been working with men and have made your ministry a “Girls Only” Club.”

I could clearly hear her gasp and choke on the other end of the line. Stunned, I heard her respond, “What did you just say?” It was then I told her, that as a guy, I was partly responsible for making the subject of unexpected pregnancy a “Girls Only” Club.

Before Janee could argue I quickly interrupted and shared, “Janee, as a guy who’s been part of an unexpected pregnancy himself, asked over the years to volunteer, I simply pushed it back on you ladies running pregnancy care centers. You ladies organize the volunteers. You ladies do all the staffing. You ladies do all the fundraising. All of it. So I get it, you women have carried the burden of ministering to couples in this situation all by yourselves – with us guys – finding other things to keep us busy and uninterested. If I could Janee, I’d like to openly repent before you on behalf of all guys and tell you I’m sorry.”

From sounds of gasping and choking just moments earlier I was clearly taken back by what I hear next. The sounds of weeping. Tenderly and quietly, like the voice of a quaint mouse I heard Janee utter, “Thank you, you’re the first guy to EVER say that. I’m taken back”.

I then lead Janee to understand that as an organization now deciding to work with men, the first and most important step, was to openly admit before God that as a group they’d purposed themselves not to for so long. Reason being: No changing of the heart occurs without a cutting of the heart.

For real transformational change in a Gospel lead organization, to go from never before working with men, to actively work with men Janee’s and the staff’s hearts had to be cut and ties to some of the things they held dear had to be broken. This is no easy task. Like many organizations to truly go in a new direction as is often desired can be glossed over for real transformational change.

To bring on a men’s program was a foundational core change for PASS. As such to simply gloss over it’s importance and ‘fire-up” new services without the core heart change would have lead to certain programable death. Yet, to address the staff at the heart level, to get to the heart of the matter and to cut it successfully was essential.

So as best I could I delivered verbally and in writing the next steps to repentance I thought Janee and the staff of PASS should embark on. Over the course of the week as a staff they came together and prayed boldly repenting all the way. They returned days later dramatically enthused and seriously fired up.

The end result? Look at their website some 8 years later and see PASS is going strong working with men is an integral part to the success of their ministry to people in need.

How did pregnancy care centers an unexpected pregnancy become a “Girls Only” Club? Well, one of the reasons was WE AS MEN let it through the abstaining of our leadership and responsibility.

Sure, there are countless other reasons, but as for me and the work I do, I’d like to think I am changing that with the Lord’s help.

How about you?

 

UPDATE FROM JANEE 10/22/2014

Kurt you should add that we had a four year run with a man as our Executive Director. We had NEVER had a man in this position. He unfortunately stepped down in 2013. Yet he left a positive mark that most assuredly could never be erased.

 

Office

6 Things To Create An Office Away From The Office For Volunteers

One of the most challenging things for any non-profit, but especially those wanting to attract male volunteers, is to provide an environment where a volunteer can flourish and stay long-term.

As we wrote last week in a blog titled, Volunteering Millennials – The 6 Ways Millennials Lean Towards You according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics overall volunteerism declined more than 1% in 2013 and is continuing to trend downward for 2014.

With the combination of aging volunteers, an economy which is stagnant and whole host of other issues we face trending in America, the ability to attract, encourage and retain viable candidates as long-term volunteers is getting tougher.

So what can forward thinking non-profits do to address this decline?

Why not create an Office Away From the Office?

As part of our training to pregnancy care centers over the last 13 years we’ve lead many centers to develop an Office Away From the Office as an intentional offer to help attract, encourage and retain some of the best male volunteers. It’s universal and can work with both male and female volunteers. Here’s are the 6 Things To Create an Office away from the Office for Volunteers:

  1. Designated area for work (Office, Desk, networked computer)
  2. WI-FI internet availability, wireless internet access points
  3. Wi-FI Color Laser Printer
  4. Ample Office Supplies
  5. Small Refrigerator with water and refreshments
  6. Peace and Quiet

DESIGNATED AREA FOR WORK

In most, but not all non-profits, the emphasis around the office is focused on vision, mission goals and strategies. As such the design of the office leans that way. From paint schemes to furniture selection and office layout the environment echoes the mission. Yet, organizations we’ve partnered with and helped retain male volunteers have realized that their volunteer force is paramount to achieving the vision. As a result have they have carved out an area of their organization (yes, literal real estate) where a volunteer can have a designated area to do their primary work – while waiting for your clients.

WI-FI INTERNET AVAILABILITY

The world has gone global and with it the ability to connect to the internet 24/7 wherever and whenever you want. You can’t even go for a coffee without noticing the WI-FI availability decal on the doors as you enter in. So it should be with you. Include in your volunteer toolbox the ability to provide uninterrupted and fat (meaning hefty bandwidth) to your volunteers. Not the same network you use, something all their own, that they, may connect their laptop, smart phones or notepads and notebooks to. Giving volunteers uninterrupted and faster internet than they can get anywhere else could be a major selling point in allowing people to do their work while waiting for clients.

WI-FI COLOR LASER PRINTER

Nothing creates more of a delay for people on ‘the-go’ than needing to find ink for their printer or going to Kinko’s and the local copy center to access color printing for presentations and reports. Why not serve those serving you by having a color WI-FI wireless laster printer available for them to print the very documents they need to get their work done? Some of your very donors are small business owners who may have a printer they will upgrade and give you their current printer or even buy for you should you make a great presentation to them on how having this tool will help you retain quality volunteers.

AMPLE OFFICE SUPPLIES

While you don’t need the inventory of Staples or Office Depot having a well stocked set of office supplies for your Office Away From the Office will go well for you in bringing potential volunteers peace of mind theta they can get the work done at your office. Taking the extra step to  get them what they need – in advance of needing it – demonstrates you care about them and want them to succeed.

SMALL REFRIGERATOR WITH REFRESHMENTS

The Cleveland Clinic writes there are 5 things to consider snacking healthily at work. A good number of snacks need to be refrigerated. Healthy snacks keep the mind creative and the energy flowing. Take the time to invest in a min-refrigerator and stock it regularly with snacks, juices and water that the volunteers never have to think about.

PEACE AND QUIET

Life gets busy, people make demands and things often go awry – and – we’re simply stating what goes on with your day. But what about that of your volunteer? Is their day hectic, hurried and busy with demands also? Be a positive force for good by providing a volunteer a safe haven, a place to get away from it all – with the connection – to achieving their personal volunteer goals when one of your clients presents themselves. Offering a quiet place where they can get their work done just might help you close the deal when presenting them the opportunity to serve.

Provide the 6 things to a potential volunteer and you will increase you ability to attract, encourage and retain valuable volunteers.

Know of any others? Leave them in the comments section below.

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