Thanks to all of you who prayed for Daniel Cavanaugh, John Fechtel and I during the Teleios Conference. We had a challenging yet good time of encouraging the young men in their relationship with Jesus Christ. All of the speakers shared from their life experiences about what God has been teaching them. I opened it with the theme passage from Rom. 12:2 and what we need to be doing with our lives. Daniel gave a challenge about the problem of being lukewarm and asked straight up for the guys to raise their hands if they thought they were hot, cold, or lukewarm. Most of which raised their hands for lukewarm. We attempted to have a fireside chat but due to the weather the wood was wet and wouldn’t stay burning. So instead we all went back to the bunk house and had a casual discussion time. I spoke on idols of the heart and what I have struggled with in my life as well as things that deaden our spiritual senses and cause us to not have a hunger for God. There was definitely spiritual warfare going on (as expected). Not long after we had all gone to bed, one of the young men got sick and threw up all night; from 1am to 8am. This not only deprived him of sleep but the rest of us as well. He unfortunately had to be sent home due to the sickness, and one of the other guys also went home early for fear of getting sick. Weary and living on subpar camp food, John Fechtel started our Saturday with a challenge to the guys that if we call ourselves Christians why isn’t living for Christ our main priority. He challenged us to live like we mean it! Daniel shared two messages back to back on the need for ‘Biblical Thinking’ and on walking in ‘The Spirit of Life’. I spoke on honoring parents; especially the Father/son relationship. In between sessions many of the guys would hit the volleyball around or throw the Frisbee to get the blood flowing. Many of the young men were receptive to the message and challenges that they heard. Some shared (to the point of tears) very deep personal issues which they struggle with while some seemed indifferent and uninterested. It was a tough group to talk to because you couldn’t tell if you were getting through to them. I believe, though some ‘seemed’ uninterested, God is doing a work in their hearts and seeds were planted that will bring forth fruit in due season. This whole conference was something I felt God was leading me to do. While I didn’t feel this was something I would be good at, I knew He would have me to do it, and in my weakness He would be strong. I thank God for the guys who came alongside me and helped to encourage the men and for the young men whom God brought to the conference. I also thank God for all of you who prayed for us because I know your prayers made a difference in the lives of the young men.
It is hard to believe that a whole month and half has come and gone since the Summit and Christmas is upon us. It truly is the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, a time with family and friends and remembering who Christ is and represents in our lives. We also want, at this time of the year, to update you on a gift that is coming your way from Vision4Living Ministries. Lord willing we will have the 2009 P4C messages uploaded on our website for you to download in mp3 format and share with others at the first of the year. We know that many of you have expressed interested in these and so we are responding to that request. Merry Christmas and may you have a Happy New Year!
Imagine leaving the comforts of home and the security of friends and family you have known for a lifetime to go somewhere unknown. Imagine going on the promise that a great opportunity awaits you. Imagine taking your wife into such an unknown “opportunity”. That is what the Old Testament patriarch Abram (later Abraham) did. He led his wife and his nephew into an unknown future. What are the qualities of leadership we can learn from Abraham?
First: He was a man of firm commitment. You can almost since the resolve of Abram in Genesis 12:4. “So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him…” This was no light thing. Abram’s background, family, and environment were entirely pagan. But it was all he knew. To be snatched out of such familiar and comfortable surroundings by Jehovah was, to say the least, a life – changing experience. It took a lot of grace which resulted in firm commitment to the revealed will of God.
So it must be with every spiritual leader. We must have an unshakable reliance on the grace of God that results in a firm commitment to His revealed will. We have what Peter calls “a more sure word of prophecy” in the completed cannon of scripture (see 2 Peter 1:19). Everything we need to be wise spiritual leaders is contained there, and we would do well to saturate ourselves with it.
Second: He was a man with feet of clay. The Bible is quite frank about the weaknesses and failures of Old Testament saints. They were men and women “subject to like passions as we are” (James 5:17). In other words, they were human. They sometimes blew it. And Abram was no exception. There is some disagreement among serious students of scripture whether Abram was right in leaving Canaan during the famine and going to Egypt (see Genesis 12, 10ff). I tend to see it as a lapse in faith. But there is no doubt that he should never have put his wife in harm’s way by passing her off as only his sister and allowing her to be taken into Pharaoh’s house with all that could have entailed. God, in His mercy, worked providentially to deliver Abram and Sarah from a potentially destructive situation. There is both an encouragement and a warning found in this episode. It is encouraging to know that our heavenly Father can and does supersede our weakness and folly. If it were not so, we would fall into all kinds of harm and destruction. We can depend on His covenant mercies. “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14). The warning, however, is this. We must not presume upon our Father’s grace. That is a dangerous path to tread. While it is true that God can restore the years the locusts have eaten, we should try to avoid feeding the locusts of life. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” But we are not to sin in order that grace may abound (See Rom. 5:20-6:2).
Abraham’s firm commitment was an excellent starting point for a man who was called to lead into an unknown future. The fact that he had feet of clay should remind us that we too are weak and sinful and in need of the resources that are ours in Christ in order to lead to His glory. And our weakness makes the next quality of leadership Abraham exhibited all the more indispensable. We will take that quality and one other up the next time.
‘Teleios’ Life Conference, which is hosted by Lakeshore Bible Church in Tampa, FL, is designed for young men to pull away for the weekend and just seek the Lord and hear His word. Please be praying for Daniel Cavanaugh, Steven Curry, & John Fechtel as they will be the speakers presenting the word to these young men. The conference will be starting at 4:30 PM EST tomorrow and ends Saturday afternoon. Thank you for praying, and we look forward to sharing what the Lord is going to do!
The end of October brings anticipation of gules and goblins for many, but for a group of Christian young adults it brought the opportunity to renew and strengthen their passion for Christ. Pleasant Hill Outdoor Center near Perrysville, OH was the setting for leaving the world behind and focusing our attention on “Approving the Excellent” at the 2009 Passion4Christ Summit. Five days of practical exposition along with volleyball, wall climbing, hiking, canoeing, camp fire & story-telling, and just plain “chilling out” offered a fellowship in Christ that was both encouraging and challenging. Eighty attendees were served by an entirely volunteer staff of seventeen who graciously gave of their time, resources, and energy for the sake of Christ and His Gospel.
Every message emphasized the importance of commitment to a life which leads to the approval of and a choosing of that which is excellent. Pastor David Sunday, Pastor Steve Cavanaugh, Dewey Novotny, Charles and Daniel Cavanaugh urged everyone to embrace suffering for Christ, exercise the mind of Christ, rejoice in God’s saving and sanctifying work, serve with grace, think biblically, and learn to be content within the circumference of Christ’s work in our lives. Amy Vest and Pam Cavanaugh challenged the women to submit to Christ’s work of making them beautiful by conforming them to the image of Christ. All those things were seen as the backdrop for a life of Biblical purpose and direction.
God used all that might have been a distraction to enhance the experience and draw the group together into a corporate pursuit of a greater passion for our Savior. The Lord is to be praised for His evident blessing on “the Summit”, His protection of the staff and attendees in their travels and activities, and His gracious provision for the needs of P4C ’09. Was it worth it? Without a doubt! One attendee put it this way. “Was it just me, or does anyone else feel like they just went to heaven?”
Next year’s Passion4Christ Summit will be on October 27-31. Perhaps your will want to give prayerful consideration to being there with us, keeping in mind that space is limited. Registration opens May 2010.
To God Alone Be Glory,
President of Vision4Living Ministries
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We are pleased to announce that the 2009 Passion4Christ Summit is full! Thank you so much for your prayers and support. Those of you who are registered we look forward to seeing you there! Lord bless and its only just three weeks away…
We have posted the Passion4Christ Summit’s Final Details & Schedule on the web for your information – http://vision4living.org/events/passion4christ-summit/. For those who are coming, we look forward to seeing you there. Lord bless and remember our God reigns!
Director of Operations
Vision4Living Ministries, Inc.
The Passion4Christ Summit registration deadline is just one week away from today (October 7) and there is still a little room left for those who are still thinking about coming. We would love to see you there. To register or for more information, visit our website at http://vision4living.org/events/passion4christ-summit/.
Director of Operations
Vision4Living Ministries, Inc.
In the word’s of John Maxwell, “Leadership is Influence: nothing more, nothing less”. But that influence is about direction. Spiritual leadership is about the direction we are going and the direction we want to take othrrs. For the next weeks, we will consider the direction significant men and women in the Bible took others. As always your thoughts and comments are appreciated.
He was inundated by a sin-saturated and satiated culture. It was enough to throw anyone off track. The minds and hearts and eyes and hands of the world were given over to all manner of evil all day, every day (Gen. 6:5). The world was one vile cesspool.
But there was an exception; a notable and noble exception. “…Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8). He did not go with the flow. He did not follow the crowd. He did not compromise with the culture. In a day when the world was on a roller coaster to hell, Noah resolutely went in the other direction and led his family to do so. And that is the crux of spiritual leadership: not knowledge or ability but direction. And direction can be very obvious in a day of rampant wickedness like Noah’s day; and like ours. When culture is bent on wickedness the person bent on following Christ will stand out. Noah’s integrity, his upright conduct, and his walk with God were notable exceptions to the fair of his day. His wife and his children saw a different kind of man when they looked at him; a man who knew the grace of God personally and enjoyed fellowship with God regularly. This is a distinguishing mark of any spiritual leader. He or she sets himself apart from the norm. He is not afraid to be different. Such a person is ready to hear from God and cooperate in what God will accomplish in a day of great wickedness.
What is the significance of Noah’s spiritual leadership? What was the fruit of his life being a light “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation”? (See Phil. 2:15). The author of Hebrews in the New Testament tells us (Hebrews 11:7). This man of genuine faith guided by the word of God and bound to the will of God heeded the warning of God and acted on things that He had never seen to bring his family to salvation. His godly life stood as a condemnation to a wicked generation and a means of salvation to his family.
But his actions had consequences far beyond his immediate family and generation. Not only did he follow God and become a means of salvation to his immediate family, but God also used him to affect the course of human history. His sons repopulated the earth. One of his sons was the father of the Jewish people through whom we received the Scriptures and ultimately the Savior – our Lord Jesus Christ. Spiritual leadership is not just about today. Spiritual leaders live with a view to the coming generations. In a day in which evil is exalted and righteousness is ridiculed, we who follow Christ would do well to keep this in mind. The faith and spiritual leadership of Noah are a challenge to us to avoid a life of ease that goes with the flow and to embrace a life lived to the glory of Christ.
President, Vision4living Ministries, Inc.
What a privilege it was for us to have the Weis family take it upon themselves to plan and support the second Family Leadership Summit sponsored by Vision4Living Ministries. The beautiful rolling hills of North Central Ohio provided a splendid backdrop for the “Summit”. The home of the Ric & Denise Weis family was the venue for a weekend focused on passing a vision for Christ to the next generation. Seven couples, one engaged couple, and several singles participated as we contemplated the significance of a biblical vision that will stand the test of time and discussed the practical aspects of having and imparting such a vision to our descendants. The necessity of a personal biblical understanding of the Gospel as the foundation for purpose and direction in life helped to lay the ground work for the topics discussed. Pam & Daniel shared testimonies of God’s grace and goodness in imparting such a vision to them, and small group discussion gave everyone the opportunity to personally grapple with the biblical issues involved. And the final message, “Vision for Living” challenged everyone to realize that vision directs life and that a vision for living must be thoroughly biblical.
The attendees included grandparents, parents, and singles. The parents where parents of younger and older children. The diversity of the group fit the variety of application. If you are interested in hosting such a “Summit”, please see the Family Leadership Summit page on our website.
President, Vision4Living Ministries, Inc.