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I’m a businessman, elder in one of the more conservative mega churches in Grand Rapids, Michigan and for over 25 years a full time spiritual mentor of men. I love introducing people to Jesus and truth from God’s perspective. I’m also an NPR listener and student of our culture because I want to understand how the world and a younger generation think, so I’m prepared to engage in conversations which are true to the Bible, intellectually honest and gracious.

Following Jesus is the only hope I have of living this life with purpose, energy and expectation. I hope to end my days on earth still meeting young men at Starbucks who have no interest in God, being the patriarch of my family, cheering them on to godliness, making sad people smile and the lonely – laugh, giving the poor hope, pointing wayward men back to their families, teaching the whole counsel of God and keeping myself unstained – God’s reputation and mine intact.

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Welcome to my blog.
I spend half my life in coffee shops having honest conversations about how following Jesus works in real life. So, let’s learn together, grab a cup and join the conversation.

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“Bathroom Bills?” – 4 Things You’ll Want to Know to Dialogue Wisely on This Issue
Posted by Clare
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Bathroom_Bills

The so-called “Bathroom Bills” passed by a number of cities and states have been big news recently. The state of North Carolina is the latest. Each state’s approach has been different, so I’ll comment most on the North Carolina efforts. In brief, here’s the issue;

It’s helpful to remember that the North Carolina legislature did not start this fight! The city of Charlotte, NC passed an ordinance, pushed by LGBT activists permitting the use of bathroom and locker rooms based on a person’s gender choice, not on their biological gender. This law applied to public facilities, schools, corporations and non-profits. The idea was to accommodate transgender men and women who may be physically male for example, but do not think of themselves mentally or emotionally as being male, but female. (The reverse is true for women).

As Christians, we ought to have great sympathy for transgender people. I can’t imagine what it is like to be a woman mentally, living in a male body, or vise versa. This gender confusion is not a choice they consciously make. It’s just the way they are, people, like all of us who’ve been damaged by sin because of the fall. And it’s also important to understand that transgender people are not, in the strictest sense of the word, homosexuals! Does that surprise you? It’s true that transgender people are attracted to their same sex, based on their own physical characteristics, but mentally and emotionally they are attracted to their opposite sex. Yes, it’s complicated!

Transgender people got attached to the gay and lesbian movement when homosexuals saw transgender people as another minority who face sexual ridicule and discriminations, so they got added to the LGBT descriptor.

In any case, apparently transgender people feel uncomfortable using restrooms and lockers that don’t correspond with their gender identity. Let’s give transgender people the benefit of the doubt that it’s difficult for them.

HB2
So in response to Charlotte’s ordinance, the North Carolina legislation almost immediately passed “The Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act” (HB2). This is a law against “local” bathroom laws, believing Charlotte’s ordinance went too far and fearing every municipality would enact different laws and there would be chaos. Within weeks almost 160 national corporations and organizations threatened to boycott doing business in North Carolina, including Apple and Starbucks.

But here’s the crux of the issue; this “Human Rights Campaign” has the audacity to claim that transgender men, who appear physically to be men, have the human right to have access to women and girls public bathrooms and locker rooms and vice versa. Furthermore, it’s discriminatory to deny them this access.

Moderates in this campaign offered this solution; remodeling every public facility in the state to offer single use (one person at a time) bathrooms, and locker rooms with showers. And yes, that is a solution. But forcing every school and corporation to spend tens of thousands of dollars to accommodate a person who simply feels uncomfortable in a normal bathroom is outrageous. Yes, we have “handicapped bathrooms” but those are needed because some handicapped people, literally cannot go to the bathroom without them! And some public places offer, family restrooms, but those are not required by law.

If there is a bathroom law in your state, and you deny access by transgender people to locker rooms or bathrooms, you may be committing a “hate crime.” The Christian Legal Society reports lawsuits across the country, even when reasonable accommodations have been made, because transgender people want to feel normal, and using a separate bathroom facility makes them feel separate and is degrading.

This is a problem that won’t go away, so the following are four very practical talking points for you as you think about this issue. You may want to forward them to your Bible Study group or friends and then talk about this with them and your family.
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Finding a Spiritual Mentor
Posted by Clare
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mentor_photo_2

By far the most difficult part of finding a spiritual mentor is having the courage to ask. Men in particular, fear rejection more than almost anything. Therefore a portion of this blog is directed at helping you overcome the fear, so you can enjoy the priceless benefits of having a mentor.

What is spiritual mentoring?
Spiritual mentoring is the process of passing on from one person to the next their love for God and biblical truth, and the life skills and experiences needed to prepare them to be fully devoted followers of Jesus in every area of their lives.

  • Mentoring is a relationship, which fosters and encourages godly lives in both the mentor and protégé.
  • Mentoring is a relationship, not a program. While the process may involve some systematic teaching and study, most learning occurs naturally in response to real life experiences.
  • Mentoring is a relationship with someone you like, enjoy, believe in, and want to see lead a life of significance, fruitfulness, and contentment.
  • Mentoring is a relationship that flourishes in shared experiences: “Tell me and I’ll remember for a while; show me and I’ll remember for a lifetime.”

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Becoming a Spiritual Mentor
Posted by Clare
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mentor_photo

Someone you know right now needs a spiritual mentor. They may not use those words, or even know exactly what they need. But most younger men and women wish they had an older person who they could learn to do life from.

Several years ago, I was at a Christian men’s conference in San Francisco. After the evening meetings hundreds of men gathered over a glass of wine, just to talk. I sat down at a table of young men, complete strangers. After a time, I asked several of the men why they came to the conference.

“I’m looking for a safe dad,” he said.

“What do you mean by that?” I asked.
“My dad walked out on his family when I was a kid, so I would never go to him to ask his advise on marriage or spiritual things. I started attending the local meetings of this ministry and the men there seem to have their act together. So, I’m getting to know a few better, hoping that one of them would mentor me.”

A second man chimed in with this. “I found a safe dad. I had a good Christian father, but there are all kinds of things I could never talk to him about. I meet with my mentor every few weeks. It’s great just having someone ask questions about all kinds of things from my marriage to how the Christian life works.”

There is someone you know right now looking for a safe dad and you may be God’s answer to their need. Here’s how to start.
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Have You Been Waiting for a Sign From God?
Posted by Clare
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SignFromGod

Ken Davis, a Christian comedian, tells a humorous story of a Christian who gets on an empty city bus, walks to the rear, and sits down. Lord, he prays, if you want me to speak to someone about you, please give me a sign. At the next stop another passenger gets on, goes all the way to the back of the bus, and sits right down next to the Christian. “Do you know anything about Jesus?” the passenger asks.

The Christian excuses himself for a moment and slowly bows his head once again and prays,

Lord if you really want me to talk to this stranger, I need just one more sign. Please turn the bus driver into an armadillo. 

Have you been praying for armadillos?

– Quoted from The 10 Second Rule

There are some decisions we don’t have to spend much time thinking about, like simple everyday impressions from God to do something kind or generous for another person. Simple stuff.

And, there are biblical accounts of people looking for signs, testing the will of God for major decisions, like when Gideon “put out the fleece” and the disciples waited for the Holy Spirit’s coming. However the waiting for a sign stories are few and far between in Scriptures, and they certainly aren’t the normal way God directs his people to make major decisions today.

Signs don’t require faith
Think about it; asking for a big dramatic sign before you move forward in obedience doesn’t really require faith at all. It’s literally walking by sight – not by faith!

Nevertheless, we Christians still like the idea of signs, don’t we? Why? Perhaps because it puts the responsibility back on God before we feel compelled to act on something we may not really want to do.

I want to make this clear, right up front; I believe it is perfectly legitimate to ask God to make his will known to you about important decisions you’re uncertain of. To ask God for his will, honors him. It lets him know you not only care about his will, but that you want his will to be “done on earth (in your life) as it is in heaven.”

It’s complicated
But here’s where it get’s tricky. I trust God, but I don’t always trust me! And you may not want to trust yourself either. By that I mean, when I’m looking for God’s will in a certain situations, I tend to look for signs that confirm what my heart desires. The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things.” Jeremiah 17:9 We want, what we want.

So, is there a better way to get direction from God? There is, but it’s not easy. Here are three ideas that may help you.
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