Isolation and it’s cruel deception

CBMC isolationHere is a recent post by Lee Truax, President of the Christian Business Men’s Connection (CBMC). Lee talks about the dangers of isolation in a frank and real way. If you are interested in connecting to men who are pursuing authentic relationships in Montgomery County, please email me at (paul at mccmm.org) or look online at http://connectme.cbmc.com/ for a connection group near your home or workplace.

From: Lee Truax

Subject: Isolation and it’s cruel deception

It’s strange how we think in the midst of isolation.  Our tendency is to think that we are all alone and able to make decisions that somehow only impact and affect ourselves.

The reality is that in every aspect of our lives we operate in relationships…  we are all connected to sphere’s of influence whether we acknowledge it or not.  Every decision impacts our family, friends, neighbors and people we work with.  Of course the deception that flourishes and grows during times of isolation is that our decisions are also isolated and separated from everyone else.  However, that is a blatant lie.

Isolation is the environment that allows the maximum impact for the enemy of our soul and his minions to whisper into our ears that we don’t matter and our decisions are completely about us.

That’s part of the reason isolation is just so dangerous.  We tend to make decisions that have a tremendous ripple effect in our relationships without even a thought to what the impact might be.

In isolation our focus is completely on our selfish wants and desires (Proverbs 18:1).  In isolation we are most likely to slip into self pity.  In isolation we are prone to listen to the loud voices of our lust (I John 2:16) and the world.  In isolation we are least likely to consider the needs of those that we are in relationship with.

This dangerous place and the consequences of the poor decisions made in it are the reason we challenge men to Get Connected!

CBMC provides the accountability and the regular encouragement to men involved in our teams to get (and stay) connected to our Heavenly Father through an intimate relationship with His Son and the Holy Spirit as well as other men of integrity who are trusting God to keep what they’ve committed to Him as well.

The great news is that our Father desires to do just that!  Be in and stay in relationship with us.  He expressed this desire so clearly in sending His Son into His creation to demonstrate His great love for us (Romans 5:8).

Avoiding times of isolation takes a posture of surrender on our part.  Rather than seeking out our own desires, Jesus told us to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23).  Our initiative to follow Him and to engage in the community that He has placed us in becomes our first step to avoiding the trap of separating ourselves and camping in isolation.

Today – acknowledge your selfish tendency to isolate from others and rage against sound wisdom seeking your own desires.  Repent — denying your selfish focus and take up your cross to follow Him.

 

CBMC Presents: Andy Kristian Agaba, Hiinga – Microfinance for Small Farmers in East Africa

Christian Business Men’s Connection of Montgomery County

Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 6:45 – 8:00 AM at the Einstein Bagel on Firstfield Road & Quince Orchard Blvd in Gaithersburg. We meet in the Community Room in the back.

Andy Kristian Agaba
Andy Kristian Agaba

Guest Speaker: Andy Kristian Agaba, Founder & President of Hiinga. Andy is a native of Uganda, East Africa. He was raised by a single mother after the murder of his father in cold-blood by gunmen. His mother valued education and hard work. Through operating a small tea cafe in a local town whose combined total assets were approximately $35 in the mid 1990s, they saved every penny so Andy and his siblings could get a good education. These funds were complimented by revenue from a half acre farm in which they raised a few pigs and grew produce for food and for sale.

Hiinga is an African founded Christian micro-finance social enterprise, based in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, whose mission is to alleviate poverty, by creating opportunities and equipping farmers and villages with tools and skills for sustainable living.As an organization, Hiinga is actively pursuing to partner more with the church and its constituents, small businesses, the farming and Amish community and individuals who have a passion to support this kind of grassroots poverty eradication movement. Today, they are working initially with farmers in Central Uganda, with the plan of launching in other districts and other regions of East Africa within the next few months.

Andy has two graduate degrees; in Psychology and in Social sciences. He is an award winning photographer and a communications specialist who has consulted for international development agencies including USAID, DANIDA, UNDP, International Alert, etc. He lives in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania with his wife Sonya and their son CJ.

Please plan to join us to hear Andy’s story and be inspired to follow his example of service to the poor through business.

Changing a city with the gospel – it takes a movement

The Gospel Coalition has an excellent article by Tim  Keller about the difference between individual church growth and a gospel movement. The article keller_100_100notes that “When churches grow, they typically do so by drawing believers out of less vital churches.” What is really going on is “Christian reconfiguration.” A gospel movement is “an ecosystem that is empowered and blessed by God’s Spirit” consisting of:

  1. A way of communicating and embodying the gospel that is contextualized to the city’s culture and is fruitful in converting and discipling its people, a shared commitment to communicating the gospel to a particular place in a particular time.
  2. The second layer is a number of church multiplication movements producing a set of new and growing churches, each using the effective means of ministry within their different denominations and traditions.
  3. A third ring consisting of a complex of specialty ministries, institutions, networks, and relationships. This includes prayer, evangelism, justice & mercy ministries, faith and work initiatives and fellowships, training and finally, unusual unity of Christian city leaders.

The subtext of CBMC, is that we strive to be a “Movement of Men” bringing the gospel to business and professional men, and providing training to enable them to carry out the Great Commission. We are part of the “third ring” of ministries that aims to support regional gospel movements. The article concludes: “When all of these ecosystems elements are strong and in place, they stimulate and increase one another and the movement becomes self-sustaining.”

This article is an excerpt from Tim Keller’s new book, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City, released by Zondervan.

Work as Worship

Most of us spend over half our lives at work. Whatever it is you fill the 9–5 with—planting crops, building cars, taking care of patients, teaching students, running a business—work is where we spend most of our waking hours. We often forget to connect our faith to our work. We don’t consider the reasons God may have us at our job. We don’t think about the purpose and meaning we could bring to our work. We simply focus on how it makes us feel.

But what if we saw our work as an opportunity to worship?

RightNow.org has created a DVD set to help Christians discover their mission is in the marketplace. Around the conference table, around the water cooler, or around the cubicle, you have an opportunity to worship the God who created you. Check out this resource from RightNow.org: Work as Worship 2012 with Matt Chandler, JR Vassar, Norm Miller & David Green. Here is a video introduction:

CBMC Presents: Vincent DiCaro, National Fatherhood Initiative

Christian Business Men’s Connection of Montgomery County

RESCHEDULED: Tuesday, December 20, 2011, 6:45 – 8:00 AM at the Einstein Bagel on Firstfield Road & Quince Orchard Blvd in Gaithersburg. We meet in the Community Room in the back.

Vincent DiCaro pictureGuest Speaker — Vincent DiCaro is Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Fatherhood Initiative, whose mission is to “to improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers.” With headquarters locally in Germantown MD, NFI may be more well-known on the national stage than in Montgomery County. Father absence is a key factor in many social problems, and NFI has developed programs and tools to engage & equip fathers, and engaging all sectors of society around father involvement.

Vincent runs NFI’s government relations and press operations. He is a graduate of The College of New Jersey, where he received a bachelor’s degree in history and economics. He received a master’s degree in Communications from Johns Hopkins University, where he wrote a thesis on the depiction of fathers in Hollywood films. Prior to joining National Fatherhood Initiative, Vincent worked for two years as an analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York City. Vincent, his wife Claudia, their son Vinny, and their Irish Setter Junior, live in Maryland.

For more info on the problem of father absence, please see this interview of Roland C. Warren, president of National Fatherhood Initiative, on CNN on Father’s Day (June 20, 2010):

Please plan to join us for inspiration as a Dad or to learn about NFI’s tools and programs that would equip you or your church to mentor other Dads.

CBMC Presents: Glastinne Celestin — “The Power of a Mentor”

Christian Business Men’s Connection of Montgomery County

Tuesday, October 4, 2011, 6:45 – 8:00 AM at the Einstein Bagel on Firstfield Road & Quince Orchard Blvd in Gaithersburg. We meet in the Community Room in the back.

Glastinne CelestinGuest Speaker — Glastinne Celestin is a dynamic speaker with a story that illustrates that with courage and the intervention by someone who cares, anything is possible. A former gang leader in Miami Florida turned graduate of Florida Atlantic University, IT Consultant turned Entrepreneur, Glastine is now motivating young people in the DC metro area to take charge of their lives and become who they were destined to be. ‘Gang life showed me that I was a leader, my mentor showed me how to lead my life,’ says Glastinne.

Glastinne grew up surrounded by gangbangers, drug dealers, and many negative influences prevalent in many low-income neighborhoods. His life is a classic illustration of how a mentor’s intervention can change another’s life path — forever. Glastinne does the same through powerful stories of how parental abuse and low self-esteem lead him to become a feared, notorious gang leader.

Through his personal story, Glastinne guides young people toward a life of self-fulfillment and joy. He seeks to inspire young people to create their own destinies and support those around them. Glastinne currently serves on the advisory board for Youth for Tomorrow, an organization helping at-risk youth become responsible members of society, founded by former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs. Visit www.glastinne.com to learn more. 

Please plan to join us for inspiration to be “strong & courageous” as a Dad or a Mentor. We will kick off a 4-week study based on the theme of the movie COURAGEOUS over the following four Tuesdays.

CBMC Presents: Gary Derr, Crown Financial Ministries

Christian Business Men’s Connection of Montgomery County

Tuesday, March 1, 2011, 6:45 – 8:00 AM at the Einstein Bagel on Firstfield Road & Quince Orchard Blvd in Gaithersburg. We meet in the Community Room in the back.

Guest Speaker — Gary Derr, Crown Financial Ministries
Gary Derr, Crown Ministries
Gary and Sue Derr have been involved in some aspect of Crown Financial Ministries for over 22 years. They began as trained budget coaches, later becoming small group leaders and then Local Contacts. Serving full time since 2004 as an Area Director for Crown, Gary covers the Greater National Capitol Area. This includes most of Maryland, all of Delaware, northern Loudoun, northern Fauquier, Clarke, and Frederick counties in Virginia, and Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia. More recently, he has also undertaken the Area Director responsibilities for the Western Pennsylvania Area.

Gary serves as a deacon in his home church, Mt. Airy Bible Church. He and Sue are both actively involved with the benevolence, stewardship and nursing home ministries within their church.

Gary and Sue have been married for over 28 years, and have seven children, ages 9-24. They have seen the Lord’s blessing in many ways through the years as they have applied His wisdom in the area of finances. One of these blessings is the privilege of Sue being a stay-at-home mom ever since the birth of their first child. In spite of having a very modest income, including times of no-work-no-pay, they became totally debt free in 1999. They were able to build a new home in 2001 mortgage free and continue to stay out of debt, a testimony to God’s goodness and faithfulness. Gary and Sue have had many opportunities to “walk the talk”, and are a living testimony to the fact that God’s word is true, and the Lord is ever faithful.

Gary and Sue’s passion is to serve individuals, churches and business owners for their freedom to follow God’s call.

Crown Ministries resources: Crown Financial Ministries offers a variety of seminars and workshops to introduce biblical principles of financial management and stewardship to the church and community.

  • Money Map Coaches: meet one-on-one, either face-to-face or through an on-line venue to help answer questions, develop budgets and/or debt reduction plans, and offer other support as needed for those seeking personal assistance. These coaches serve their local churches. Additionally, some are referral coaches for the ministry.
  • Life Group Leaders: facilitate the ten-week Biblical Financial Study, helping students delve into God’s Word to gain an understanding of foundational stewardship principles. They also assist students as needed to practically apply the principles they learn to their personal financial situation.
  • Money Map Seminars: The newest live seminar from Crown Financial Ministries combines biblical principles of money management with practical applications in a fast-paced format.
  • Business by the Book: In today’s competitive and confusing business environment, Christians are looking for answers to the tough questions they face every day. Fortunately, God’s plan for a Christian in business is right in the Bible.