Quotes of Jesus

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly!"--Jesus

A Special Message from Andy

If you are new to this blog, I invite you to begin reading the We Are At War series with its first installment The Reality posted in January 1, 2012. All other installments are posted in sequential order.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Vision for the Ministry

In the movie Kingdom of Heaven, the character Balian (played by Orlando Bloom) is given his father's fuedal estate, Ibelin, by the King of Jerusalem. It is a desolate piece of desert. It is the result of a negligent knight. Negligent to his estate and to his son's life. Awakened to his new identity as a son of nobility, Balian comes to the estate to bring life. The land is in desperate need of water. Knowing this, he pours all of his effort into finding water and then building a system to irrigate the land. The result is prosperity and growth.

Balian knew he needed water, but finding water alone is not enough. Structures must be put in place to distribute it. This is why we need a good vision. Proverbs 29:18 tells us "where there is no vision, the people perish." Vision is seeing beforehand the structures that will be necessary to distribute the life that has been given to us through Jesus.

In the last Post we visited the mission of Rally Point. Our goal is to "restore men to their proper place in the world as image bearers of God." In order to do this, we need to wake men up to a new reality, to the way God wants them to see Himself, the world, and themselves. We are at war. We need to offer men a fellowship. God uses other men to help make a difference in our lives. Proverbs 27:17 says "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Finally, our task includes teaching men how to fight. Show them there are some things in this life worth fighting for, and that we have an enemy who opposes us and the glorious image we've been created to bear. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12).

I want to take a moment and lay out what we believe is the best means to accomplish our mission. How are we going to wake men up, offer him that fellowship, and then teach him how to fight? The first means is by way of web presence. The internet is a great way to network and to get the message out. If you are reading this, then you are obviously aware of the blog. However, you may not know about our presence on Facebook. You can become one of our fans on facebook and receive the opportunity to interact with other fans following this message. The page is called Rally Point Ministries. I regularly post this blog on there as well as movie clips that stir me (in hopes they will stir you as well). It's a great place on the web to share and connect. Eventually, we would like to see our presence expand into its own web site as the Holy Spirit leads and provides.

The second means of accomplishing the mission of Rally Point is through small group ministry. Small groups will open up opportunities for men to grow deeper in their understanding of the message of the heart. Men will discover that their battles are shared and bonds of trust will develop. Brotherhoods will form and a mission will be shared. In essence, we'll have several strategically placed "platoons." Now, small groups have the tendency to enlarge, however, they must remain small in order to keep the doors open for men to voice their struggles and process their thoughts. Being mission minded, we will constantly be on the lookout for developing leaders to establish new "platoons."

Finally, the most exciting and effective expression of Rally Point will be the Boot Camp men's retreat. This allows guys to really unplug and make themselves available to receive whatever God wants to give (usually Himself) over a four day stint. It is an intense weekend where many tenets of the Wild At Heart message are taught (John Eldredge). Our sessions mix teaching along with illustrative movie clips from the films most men connect with and enjoy. The teaching, while important, is not the secret to the success of the retreat. Throughout the weekend (Thurs.-Sun.) we give the guys opportunity to quiet themselves and really listen for God's voice, something that must be cultivated. It is the pinnacle of the ministry, therefore, strongly opposed. Because we are looking for transformation that only the Holy Spirit can accomplish, prayer and intercession are absolutely necessary for the success of Boot Camp. When the Wild Goose shows up, men will be forever transformed!

Our task is huge. That's what makes it so worthwhile. Things are beginning to heat up as we gear into the next level of the ministry. We've been getting worked over, struggling with our enemy, but with God's help we are not about to let it take us out. We need your prayers. If you would like to sign up as one of our intercessors, email "Sign Me Up" to rallypnt@gmail.com. We've added a subscription gadget to this blog if you would like to have new posts sent directly to your homepage. Finances are always a concern as we "gear up" to make this happen. We are prayerfully seeking God on financial support for this ministry concerning needs such as equipment, DVDs, and curriculum. I invite you to join us in prayer by bringing the Kingdom of God over the Rally Point Ministry; that He would "supply all [our] needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)

Again, I want to thank you for reading. As always, please leave a comment below, we'd love to hear from you and how these posts are impacting you. It keeps us encouraged and motivated. May God bless you as you earnestly seek him.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What is Rally Point? Part III

[If you haven't read parts I and II yet, I strongly encourage you to read those first.]

This part is just as important as the man, and the message. It is the mission. If you were to take a soldier, tell him we're at war, and ask him to do the best that he can without giving him a mission, you've set him up for failure. Most men do not have a clearly defined mission, so their passion for battle, adventure, and beauty get misplaced. Next thing you know, he gets taken out.

Here's the mission of Rally Point. The objective is simple. Restore men to their proper place in the world as image bearers of God. It was Jesus' mission and has now become ours. Luke records it in an important story from his gospel.

"God's Spirit is on me;
he's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to
the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and
recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free,
to announce, 'This is God's year to act!'" (Luke 4:18-19 The Message)

The words come from a pivotal passage in Isaiah 61. They were words that when he read them before the local synagogue they would be easily recognized. Then, he says to the people, guess what? This has just come true! All of Christ's work, His death, resurrection, and ascension, were meant to complete this mission. His miracles were pictures of what it would be like for the Kingdom of God, His kingdom to come upon others. The work was about restoration, not just to make life easier for us, but to renew and recreate mankind into what it was originally meant to be, turning it back to its original glory. You can bet, its still the work He's trying to accomplish today, and he has chosen to complete it through us, those that love and serve Him.

How, then, do we do this? Every Christian organization, church, or group has a mission. Our mission ought to be the same and many times it is, however, we have different means of going about it. Rally Point is about reaching men, and this is our strategy:

First, we want to wake a man up and pull him out of his matrix he has been connected to for so long. There was a time in that man's life (usually as a boy) he enjoyed a life of carefree, innocent fun. He was daring and would try things he'd never done before. He was a fighter, even if you tried to take away toy guns from him, he'd carve out little pistols from his graham crackers. That little girl that caught his attention, would help him find a strength and an ability he never knew he had. Then, his life took a devastating turn. Somewhere along the way the little boy was wounded and taken out. Fear set in. Confidence waned. Resignation became his only way to deal with his plight. We want to tell that man the desires he had as a boy are still there. We want to wake that up, stir him up a bit, and let him know that he can have that glory back, but it must be fought for.

Second, is to come alongside him and offer a place of fellowship where he can commune and grow with other men fighting the same battle as he. This life cannot be lived alone. We were not meant to be alone. Jesus himself called out twelve to be His disciples. They were not just students, they became brothers, companions along His journey. How far could he have gotten without them? I shudder to think about the answer to that question. The fact is, He chooses us to complete His mission. It sounds ludicrous for the God of creation to need us...but He does. If Christ needed others, how much more do we need others to come alongside us, encourage us, and help us grow.

Finally, teach him how to fight for his wife, his kids, and others. This is what Nehemiah said in chapter 4, verse 14:

"Put your minds on the Master, great and awesome, and then fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes."(The Message)

The man must be taught that strength is for others, especially those whom he loves. He does not find his strength just so he can kick sand in the little guy's face on the beach. He is to fight for others who cannot fight for themselves. Those fellowships will become places for him to exercise His strength. His home will be the primary battlefield of his life. His work will take on new meaning as he receives the life God has for him. What are we protecting others from? Christ tells us in John chapter 10 verse 6:

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (NIV)

Jesus knows what He has to offer, but he recognizes that there is one who comes to take life away. It is this evil one and his kingdom that we must make our stand against and the only way is by the life we have received through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thank you for taking the time to read our three part description of Rally Point. These are truly exciting times for all of us, and I hope you've been able to pick up on our excitement. I want to personally invite you to become a vital part of this ministry. Take time to become a follower of this blog and stay connected to the action. Soon we'll be announcing some exciting news, and you'll want to be around for that. We are in desperate need for intercessors. If you would, email us at rallypnt@gmail.com to become an intercessor. Just type "sign me up" and we will send you updates and prayer needs for the ministry.

Again, thank you for the time spent reading these blogs these past couple of weeks. Keep coming back for more, because there is so much more to share. You can look forward to my next post coming soon which is the vision for Rally Point. I'm really excited about this one. Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Is Rally Point? Part II

The message of Rally Point is not a new one, but is a forgotten one. It has been buried for centuries by the Age of Enlightenment, along with the Victorian Era where men were taught to compromise their beliefs for the sake of civility and were convinced to put aside his wildness for the sake of Christ. As a result, a man's passion for life was lost. Under the Age of Enlightenment, empirical and scientific evidence became the basis for truth, replacing narrative as a means of understanding. The Laboratory became more important than the storyteller. The results were devastating as men became sweet, nice, and for the most part, bored.

The hope we have, however, is that Jesus came, and He came with a mission in mind. He said, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." (Luke 19:10 NIV) Did you get that? He did not say "seek and save the lost," even though that's how we usually interpret it. Rather he said, "what was lost". The question then becomes, "what exactly was lost?" We're taught in scriptures that mankind was created in the image of God, both male and female. What does that mean? Well, we have the physical differences and we see how that plays into procreation. Then, there are the mental differences where guys and gals think differently. There are definitely the emotional differences. What about when it comes to the soul? Could there be differences between the genders when it comes to the soul and the heart? Why do we understand the male and female image of God to be limited only to the physical, mental, and emotional, but not the spiritual? For some sad reason, we're too quiet when it comes to this, dangerously quiet. That is why you see fewer and fewer men at church, and almost no young men.

I believe God meant something special when he created a man. (He also meant something else special when he created a woman, but we won't discuss that here quite yet.) In order for us to understand this in practical ways, we need to see what men desire from life. A good place for us to start is with the movies men love. Let's take, for instance, Gladiator, Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, and Lord of the Rings to name a few. Why do men almost universally gravitate to these types of films? Why do women, while they may watch one of these movies, almost universally prefer to watch movies such as Chocolat, Sense and Sensibility, and Shall We Dance? The genders have their preferences because men bear God's image as a man, and women bear God's image as a woman. We're not just talking entertainment, but these movies really stir a longing within us; something wakes up. It's that ache, or longing we need to get in touch with.

Now back to the movies for men. What do these types of movies tend to have in common? The first is battle. We get excited when we see something blown up or when the bad guy gets killed. It's not enough to put him prison, we want him gone. The second similarity is adventure. Men love adventure! Give guys a free weekend and some spending money and what are they going to do? You guessed it, adventure; rock climbing, hunting, hiking, white water rafting or anything that involves risk. Finally, more times than not, there is a beauty involved in the movies we love. A beautiful young woman in need of a rescue where her hero will come, deliver her, and take her to some secret rendezvous. The reason we watch these movies is because we want these things. We want these things because God wants these things. God's a fighter. "The Lord is a warrior, The Lord is His name."(Exodus 15:3 NIV) He loves adventure. "He makes the clouds His chariots and rides on the wings of the wind."(Psalm 104:3 NIV) He loves a beauty. "I belong to my lover, and His desire is for me."(Song of Solomon 7:10 NIV) These are the desires of our hearts because they are the way a man bears the image of God...and these desires are key to understanding the soul of a man.

A Battle. An Adventure. A Beauty. This is our glory as men, and nothing in this world could be more opposed. Our enemy will stop at nothing to inhibit the restoration of God's image here on earth, because he fears it. That makes our mission that much more dangerous.

I welcome your comments on this post as well as others. Next time, you may look forward to hearing in greater detail the mission we've been called to.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What Is Rally Point?

I'm so glad you asked! In order to answer this question, there are some things you need to know about me, my experience with a transformational message as old as time itself, and the mission I've been called to.
Let's start with the man.
I was born and raised in the Middle Georgia Area, and brought up in a very conservative/traditional denomination of the Church. I became a convert to the Christian faith at a very young age. Church attendance was important to my family, so you could imagine that I was present every time the doors were open. You could say I had a very religious upbringing. I participated in everything that a good Christian was supposed to participate in, and did it all very well. I went to Trevecca University and pursued a degree in religion with an emphasis in Pastoral Ministries, a career path I know that I was called to. I served in two senior pastorates, both of which were let's say, "less than perfect." Then came to my home church in Middle Georgia to serve as an associate pastor for almost five years.
This is where life for me began to change.
After two difficult pastorates, I needed time to heal, restore, and recover. There was no better place than the home in which I knew and loved. It was an opportunity for me to continue serving while seeking and finding the much needed restoration that my soul needed. Little did I know that I needed so much more, and it was the more that God so desperately wanted to do in my life.
It began with a gift, a Christmas gift in fact, from my sister-in-law. It was a gift card to Barnes and Noble. Well, after a month or two I finally got to use my card. At the suggestion of my wife (believe me guys, sometimes its good to listen to your wife) I picked up the book Wild At Heart by John Eldredge. A revolution took place in my mind and then it trickled down into my heart and to the rest of my life as it penetrated every part of me. Never, and I do mean never, have I heard the gospel presented in such a way. How did I miss this? Then upon looking back on my life and the wounds given to me by family members, friends, churches, and superiors, I began to receive God's healing and I allowed Him to restore not just me, but my masculine heart. These wounds throughout my life carried with them a message, "You have nothing to offer, you're a failure, and it would just be better for you if you just played it safe the rest of your life." I believed it, and because I believed it, I checked out on my wife, family, and church. I became afraid to offer what these people in my life really needed, my heart. I gave them my mind and my hands, but not my heart. There is a difference.
Thankfully, my story doesn't end there. No, because this story is not about me. It's about Jesus. The man who made no apology for being a man. The man who sacrificed all for the good of those who would take up His charge. The man who fought for those who could not fight for themselves. The man who offered me a place in His fellowship because He saw that I did indeed have something to offer. The man who looked at me and refused to see a failure, but a victor. The man who taught me that living safely is not living at all. By His grace I've been following ever since.
This is my story. My next post will be the transformational message that impacted me so, and thus is the message of Rally Point. Please feel free to leave your comments below and sign up as a follower. May God bless!!