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Über Christ Followers – Part 8 – Gennarino DeStefano

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The purpose of my instruction is that all the Christians there would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and sincere faith. 1 Timothy 1:5

Gennarino DeStefano will give the shirt off his back for you. Well, maybe not his shirt, but definitely his cowboy boots. True story: I complimented Pastor G on his boots and a few days later, they were sitting in my office.

Gennarino put me in situations to cause me to develop discernment and skills useful to pastor. Pastor Gennarino taught me everything I know about Benevolence Ministry. He taught me how to be a wise steward of the resources the church uses for outreach. From him I learned that the work of God is not an instant answer to a dilemma. Usually the dilemma is the event God uses to begin a process of growth in a person’s life.

Pastor G. taught me to care for the needy by providing opportunities to glean. Gennarino put into action how to have the heart of a servant; how to minister to men; how to challenge men to love Jesus. His experience and wisdom have helped me right up to the present time.

He laid hands on me and prayed for me when I was ordained as a pastor at the church where I now serve. That is a day I will never forget. He spoke to me about his confidence in God’s plan for my life.

Pastor Gennarino is now the assisting pastor at Calvary Chapel of the Triad in North Carolina. I know he’ll bless the pastor he’s serving and continue to pour his life into serving people and equipping them for ministry.

Nerd Test

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I am nerdier than 5% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out! Chris Goeppner took a nerd test. I had to prove to myself that I was less nerdy than him. He scored a 6, I scored a 5. That means 95% of the planet is nerdier than me. Translation: evryone is smarter, more interesting, less shallow, more able to entertain themselves creatively, and less likely to end up having to knock off a bank to enjoy a really nice vacation.

All I care about is that I'm less nerdy than Chris by 1%. That's because he's in the Cult of Mac.

Happy Festivus from the Rest-of-Us

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I have quite a bit to be thankful for today. My family, first of all. My little brother, Dan, and his girlfriend are in town. It's been many moons since I've seen my bro'.

I'm mostly thankful that there's a place to buy my Festivus Pole this year. You know Festivus - the holiday for the rest of us invented by Frank Costanza of the Seinfeld Show.

The Mondok family has a tremendous amount to celebrate. I have great kids and an amazing wife. I never would have thought that my life could be this good. The greatest investment I've ever made was in my relationship with the beautiful and charming Susan and my two kids. With Christ at the center of all we do, it's been an investment that has only begun to pay dividends.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

Porn Again

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The following is from an article I read last night while researching Christians and pornography. I know what you’re thinking: “Research, you say?”

No, really. Seriously. Research. And I even told the beautiful and charming Susan know what I was doing (as I give account when ever there is extended activity on my computer)

She said, “Research, you say? I know what happens when you ‘research’ porn, Mr. Mondok.”

“No, really, Honey. Seriously. Research. I’m writing some stuff on my blog. And also I have that men’s addiction class on Thursdays now,” says me.

“Okay, Mr. Blogger.”

The beautiful and charming Susan and one other accountability partner get reports of everything I do on the internet. Covenant Eyes provides that service for me. Why? The stats below nail me and probably you. Let me know what you think.

Porn Again
• A 2003 survey from Internet Filter Review reported that 47 percent of Christians admit pornography is a major problem in their homes.
• An internet survey conducted by Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in 2002 found 30 percent of 6,000 pastors had viewed internet porn in the last 30 days.
• A Christianity Today Leadership Survey in 2001 reported 37 percent of pastors have viewed internet porn.
• Family Safe Media reports 53 percent of men belonging to the Christian organization Promise Keepers visit porn sites every week.
• One in seven calls to Focus on the Family's Pastoral Care Hotline is related to internet pornography.
• Today's Christian Woman in 2003 found that one in six women, including Christians, struggles with pornography addiction.

Psalm 119:37 "Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word."

From the NoHo Zone

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Since we started this Men's Addiction group, I've been cruising the net looking for the best and most down-to-earth resources I can for guys who struggle with men's "issues." You know the issues I'm talking about, guys... Yeah... what you just now thought of.

One of the best sites I've seen in the Christian realm is xxxchurch.com. It's funny, real, and challenging. Kudos to Mike and Craig for doing something out of the box and reaching the people that most of us in the Christian community wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.

Let's talk about that for a second. It's interesting, you people who read your Bibles, to note that in the geneology of Christ there are listed, well, loose women. But we church folk are scared to death to minister to those kind of women. I'm mostly speaking for myself. And my wife really doesn't want me "ministering" to them either. At least not out of her line of sight which is definitely okay with me.

Lately it's difficult to tell by the way a woman dresses whether she is a Christian sister or not. I'm not saying that the moral strength of the church has so permeated American fashion culture that modest has become hip. I'm saying that what's immodest and en vogue has more infiltrated the way women in the church deck themselves out. Church babes often look more loose than the women who may not yet be followers of Jesus. I recommend that godly gals click here and take the NoHo pledge. Below is an excerpt:

Take The NoHo Pledge:
I, state your name, promise to the best of my ability not to dress, buy clothes or act like a Ho. Clothes I should try to avoid buying or wearing: tight pants that are cut so low that when I bend over you can see my g-string or butt crack, tight half shirts that show my six or not-so-six pack, tight shirts that are low cut to show my cleavage or short shorts that you can see my butt cheeks in.

I know that God desires me to glorify him in all things and I realize that by dressing like a Ho, I only desire to give glory to me, not God. I also know boys have a problem with sexual things and I know that by not dressing like a Ho, I can be a part of the solution, not the problem!

Men's Addiction Group Kickoff

Our first men’s addictions group got together Thursday night. It’s not a complex meeting. Our goal is to create a safe community for men to confess their struggles, be encouraged by their brothers, and get prayer. We are watching a series of teachings by Sy Rogers. What follows are the notes I took in our first meeting.

We need to have:
>Flexibility
>The ability to fail and recover
>A good sense of humor; enjoyment and satisfaction amid imperfection
>Perseverance; commitment to the picture
>Realistic expectations

What have you been expecting? Do you expect being a Christian with a sin nature to be convenient?
Convenience is an idol worshipped by Americans, believers and unbelievers alike.

God’s expectation: For Us to Know God and make Him known.

>Redemption is not a cure; sin can still take its toll in your life
>Redemption is not a “zap” solving all your problems
>Becoming a Christian does not mean that God gives you amnesia: your memory is not erased.
>Unrealistic expectations yield superficial, immature Christians
>Redemption is regaining self-control in thought and behavior/deed
>Redemption is management of needs and weaknesses in healthy, not self-destructive ways.
>Don’t despise your weakness – don’t despise it and coddle it; allow it to drive you to God
>God will bring resolve to conflicts within you and around you that block your growth


CS Lewis: “We are all a bunch of beggars, the difference is we now go to God to get our bread.”

God would rather have a son that fails than no son at all. When you fail, get up and keep moving forward don’t give up.

Men are event driven.
God creates events that lead to processes.

Redemption

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I just finished watching a movie starring Jamie Foxx called Redemption. I bought the DVD off the discount rack at WalMart. Why have I not heard of this movie?

Jamie Foxx plays Stanley "Tookie" Williams, founder of the Crips street gang. Jamie Foxx was brilliant.

This is a clean movie that I wouldn't be afraid to recommend to any adult. There are flashback sequences of gang violence and crime as the Foxx's character tells his story and remembers his mis-deeds.

Men's Accountability

Thursday, November 17, 2005

While preparing for a men's addictions group we're having here at the office, I stumbled across the following facts at xxxchurch.com:

Men...Here are the facts.

1. We all love to look at nude women. 2. We have all looked at nude women. 3. We all know where we can find pictures of nude women.

The question is what are you going to do about the facts. We can simply accept the facts and give in to our flesh or we can live a life of integrity and avoid the pitfalls and traps of Internet pornography. This is every man's battle.

Fact #1 Women are beautiful because that's the way God made them. We are naturally attracted to them. If you're not, then there is probably another website out there that can help you with that problem. But for all those that are attracted to women, we need to put into perspective women's beauty. Our flesh seeks to distort and destroy God's ultimate plan for relationships between men and women. He did not create women for us to be able to click onto a poorly designed and cheesy website and look at them naked. He did not craft the woman's body so we could pay $3.95 a month to look at naughty pictures. There is so much more to God's plan.
You need to understand that attraction is from God's heart, but lust is from ours.

Fact #2 Ok men...are you still going to sit there and say that you have never looked. We can't believe how many men still discuss this issue as "other men's problems." It kind of goes like this...."well my friend Jeff... I know he used to have a problem with this." Can't we all just agree that we looked and we want to look some more?"

Fact #3 Here is the clincher. We have established the fact that we like to look. And now finally, there is the truth that we know where to find more pictures. That in a nutshell is the problem. What are we going to do about it? Put safeguards in your life right now!! Don't have it be a secret any longer. Get real and stop messing around with your integrity and your future. Get some accountability partners and start talking openly and honestly about these issues. The facts speak for themselves. Now as men it is time for us to rise to the occasion and be the leaders that God has called us to be.

Do it for yourself. Do it for your wife. Do it for your kids. Do it because it's the right thing to do.

Like what you've read here? Credit goes to the guys over at xxxchurch.com.

New Blogger

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The beautiful and charming Susan is now a blogger. Check her out.

Golden Apples


"People on 'ludes should not drive." --Jeff Spicoli, Fast Times at Ridgemont High

I read this on a website Chris Goeppner recommended to me. Chris ususally only tells me about sites like these and movies with people farting.

Only a keen eye like mine notices the subtle fashion faux pas committed by Jeff Spicoli in this picture. A skinny, tan striped tie with a Hawaiian shirt? Please.

Bungled Communication

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Is it me? I mean, I try to communicate. I attempt to be diplomatic. I struggle to be sensitive to my listeners and co-workers (you don’t need to ask them). The most used book in my library is How to Say It. And, when I think about, I read the book and try to apply it. But what about when you think you really don’t need to consult an expert with a book? So you just go into your co-worker’s or boss’s office and dive into whatever the issue is. Then you walk out of his or her office with your head spinning lugging with you a bigger sack of unresolved issues as you carried into the meeting. Does your day ever work out that way? That’s the story of my life (somebody call a WHAH-mbulance).

Todd Rhoades sent around a great email Monday that was, of course, linked to his blog. I thought it was helpful enough for me that I sent all my co-workers a link to the article. I don’t know if they read it (I was actually just hoping they’d recognize how connected I was to helpful resources).

So how did Todd Rhodes get so smart? I should have known my work week was headed for the toilet when I got an email that said: “Do you anticipate a problem-free week?” That’s how Todd started his article. I’m like, “I should be okay, but the rest of the staff will probably have a bumpy week – they’ll appreciate this…” So I hit forward and sent the link to Todd’s article.

Seriously, I appreciate the wisdom found at Monday Morning Insight and enjoy following the links from Todd’s blog. Just knowing that this information is out there helps me realize that I’m not the only one with these stupid struggles and helps me feel less alone in ministry.

Über Christ Followers – Part 7 – Clay Hecocks

Monday, November 14, 2005

I met Clay Hecocks when I started attending Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale during the winter of 1992. I volunteered as a sound tech in the worship ministry on Sunday mornings during the second service and during the Sunday evening service. What stands out most about what I learned from Clay is that he taught me about excellence in worship ministry. But try not to take yourself too seriously. And, oh yeah, have fun. As he grew, he made sure those he led grew along beside him.

What Clay probably regrets most in his role as a mentor is the day he volunteered to help my family move. He jumped out of the truck, landed funny, and messed up his ankle. He walked around in a sock for a couple of weeks after that.

I was impressed that Clay, a pastor and leader at our church would take the time to help us move. He never asked for a favor in return. I never forgot his example of service and have tried to follow his example in the congregation where I now serve as a pastor.

I laugh at the memory of the day Clay kicked my perfectly well-behaved if not slightly misunderstood son out of the Christmas show. All he was doing was singing, “I’m not listening,” with his fingers jammed in his ears. How does that get you kicked out of the Christmas show?

Training Day

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Billy and me are training for the Disney Marathon. Saturday is the day of our long run. Today we pounded out seventeen miles. Next week, its eighteen. Then we come back down to around twelve the following Saturday and back up to twenty the next. The training goes something like that until Sunday, January 8, 2006, when we run 26.2 at the Disney World Marathon.

We use Hal Higdon's intermediate level training schedule. If you stick to the schedule, it works great. Even if you don't feel good or if you feel you can take on the world, stick to the schedule.

Last year, I ran the marathon in four hours, twelve minutes. This year, we're shooting for under four.

Figuring Out "Normal" People

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Recently I took the DISC personality profile test. DISC stands for:
D=Dominance
I=Influence
S=Submission
C=Compliance

I was curious about the origin of this test so I did a little research on the guy who developed it.

The test puts persons into one of four of the boxes with the above labels. The idea is that people required to communicate with each other would learn the best way to approach and converse with co-workers, spouses, or family members with different communication styles and tendencies.

The DISC Personality Profile Test is the brain child of William Moulton Marston
(1893-1947) Marston was a prolific inventor, author, and scholar. Have you ever heard of a "lie detector"? He invented it. Coupled with the DISC Personality Profile Test, the lie detector is the perfect partner for pre-employment screening and interviewing for promotions. I once had a boss who used the results of these tests to pick his beer drinking buddies. Hook me up to the machine if you think I'm lying.

Marston is the author and creator of wide variety of publications. Emotions of Normal People is one that may or may not be familiar to you. Or perchance you've purused the pages of Integrative Psychology. Probably not; this is a rare and expensive book.

One publication that Marston has to his credit that you have no doubt heard of is Wonder Woman Comics. That's right. Lynda Carter would never have graced my pre-teen television tuning had it not been for the monumental work of William Marston, Ph.D.

Nick Gillespie had this interesting article about Marston on Reason Online's website. Below is an interesting tidbit cut and pasted:

As Les Daniels recounts in the fully enjoyable and always fascinating new book, Wonder Woman: The Complete History (Chronicle Books): "Marston believed women were less susceptible than men to the negative traits of aggression and acquisitiveness, and could come to control the comparatively unruly male sex by alluring them....He was convinced that as political and economic equality became a reality women could and would use sexual enslavement to achieve domination over men, who would happily submit to their loving authority."

Such notions, suggests Daniels, help explain some of Wonder Woman’s crime-fighting accoutrements, especially her "magic lasso" that -- shades of a lie detector! -- forces men to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Marston’s personal life was every bit as unconventional as his ideas about matriarchy; if nothing else, the details make one wonder about his fixation on liberated women. In 1915, the same year he graduated from Harvard, Marston married a Mt. Holyoke grad named Elizabeth Holloway, who went on to earn an M.A. and law degree, and to assist him in his psychological research. In the late ’20s, when teaching at Tufts University, Marston met a student named Olive Richard, who moved in with him and his wife.

Marston had two children by each woman and he and his wife formally adopted his children by Richard. "It was an arrangement where they [all] lived together fairly harmoniously," one of Marston’s sons told Daniels. A business associate vouched for Marston’s offbeat arrangement, remembering him as "the most remarkable host, with a lovely bunch of kids from different wives...all living together like one big family -- everybody very happy and all good, decent people."

Good times.

Well, in a couple of weeks, we'll have the results back from our DISC test. I wonder what box I'll land in, Dominance, Influence, Submission, or Compliance.

Über Christ Followers – Part 6 – Mark Davis

Über

Each minute I spent with this man made me wiser, encouraged me, and re-focused my efforts.

Pastor Mark was the man who prepared me for my first full time ministry position. The preparation time he poured into my life lasted for a couple of years. Mark probably doesn’t even realize the impact he had on me.

Mark gave me one of the best books on ministry preparation I’ve ever read (The Making of a Leader by Frank Damazio). Mark gave me this book at a crucial crossroads in my ministry development. I’ve used the lessons and principles in this book in every ministry mentoring situation since.

He taught me to have the solutions to my complaints.

I’ll never forget the time he tapped me on my chest and said, “Bryon, you have it here in your heart.” Then he tapped my head and said, “But you don’t quite have it here, yet.”

Ouch.

He taught me that wisdom isn’t proving you know everything.

About Porn

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I was over on Mike Brunjes blog and followed the link he had there to The Trinity Project, a campaign launched by XXXChurch. XXXChurch evokes mixed feelings as you will discover if you visit any of the links I provide in this post.

Take the time to sit and read the comments posted on 3XBlog. You need to set aside about twenty minutes to work through it. You'll be amazed and challenged.

My girls.

Friday, November 04, 2005

These are my main ladies. Charity, my eighteen year old daughter, is on the left and the beautiful and charming Susan, my wife of nineteen years is on the right.

They think they're hamming it up for my picture phone. I think I just shortened my life expectancy by posting this silliness for a potential audience of millions. Oh, well. Life is but a vapor...

Über Christ Followers – Part 4 – Don Dukes

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Luke 17:9
And the servant is not even thanked, because he is merely doing what he is supposed to do.

Now here’s a verse I’d like to rip right out of the Bible. I hate that Jesus even said this to His followers. Because when I’m a servant, I really want everyone to slap me on the back and congratulate me for my tremendous tendencies toward incredibly, spiritual servitude.

Several years ago, when I interned in ministry, I worked side by side in grounds maintenance with a man that taught me godly servant hood. Don Dukes demonstrated that serving was not a penalty for wrong doing. God has no penal colonies in ministry. A servant in the Lord’s household is being developed by God to bring honor to His Name and to illustrate Christ’s glory to a world that watches.

Don’s words to me are always seasoned with the grace and forgiveness of God. Anyone who comes in contact with Don Dukes walks away knowing that they are loved and cherished by their Heavenly Father. Anyone that shares time with Don becomes acquainted with how precious he or she is in the sight of God.

Don Dukes now pastors at Stillwater Calvary in Onley, Montana. He is also closely associated with Potter’s Field Ranch.

The Barbarian Way

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I just finished Erwin Raphael McManus’s book The Barbarian Way. This was a great read enjoyed by both myself and the beautiful and charming Susan. The following is an excerpt from the book.

I was surprised to learn that a group of buzzards waiting around together to feast on leftover carnage is called a committee. Just this one insight is worth the price of the whole book. This explains so much of what’s going on in churches – a lot of committees waiting around to live off human carnage.

Groups of flamingos are called flamboyants, which for some reason reminds me of TV evangelists. And groups of the less glamorous owls are known as parliaments. They do seem sort of British.

But my favorite of all is the group designation for rhinos. You see, rhinos can run at thirty miles an hour, which is pretty fast when you consider how much weight they’re pulling. They’re actually faster than squirrels, which can run at up to twenty-six miles an hour. And even then, who’s going to live in dread of a charging squirrel? (Sorry – that was a bit off the point.) Running at thirty miles an hour is faster than a used Pinto will go. Just one problem with this phenomenon. Rhinos can see only thirty feet in front of them. Can you imagine something that large moving in concert as a group, plowing ahead at thirty miles an hour with no idea what’s at thirty-one feet? You would think that they would be far too timid to pick up full steam, that their inability to see far enough ahead would paralyze them into immobility. But with that horn pointing the way, rhinos run forward full steam ahead without apprehension, which leads us to their name.

Rhinos moving together at full speed are known as a crash. Even when they’re just hanging around enjoying the watershed, they’re called a crash because of their potential. You’ve got to love that. I think that’s what we’re supposed to be. That’s what happens when we become barbarians and shake free of domestication and civility. The church becomes a crash. We become an unstoppable force. We don’t have to pretend to know the future. Who cares if we can only see thirty feet ahead? Whatever’s at thirty-one feet needs to care that we’re coming and better get out of the way.

We need to move together as God’s people, a barbarian tribe, and become the human version of the rhino crash. The future is uncertain, but we need to move toward it with confidence. There’s a future to be created, a humanity to be liberated. We need to stop wasting our time and stop being afraid of what we cannot see and do not know. We need to move forward full force because of what we do know.
 

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