Archives For Check In Emails

Check-In: October 17, 2015

Darin Charles —  October 15, 2015 — 1 Comment

We’ve spent the last few weeks discussing and defining the Holy Trinity: The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  What I’d like to do now is to extrapolate the concepts of those beliefs to our own lives.

If our God is the one, true God.  If he is love and joy; if he is all-powerful and all-knowing; if he is patient and kind, then. . .

If Jesus is our Lord and Savior; if he suffered and died for our sins; if he defeated death and promises eternal life; if he speaks truth; if he is the ultimate example of sacrifice and humility for us to emulate, then. . .

If the Holy Spirit is always with us; if it guides us in our faith journey; if it is a teacher and a reminder of Christ’s teachings, then. . .

 

If all of these things are true, (and these are the collective truths of the guys in attendance), then what does that say about us?  If I believe what Jesus says about the Trinity, then “Who am I?”

My answer would be something like this:

I am a child of God.  Created in His image.  I am a follower of Christ.  I am imperfect, but I have been redeemed.  I am saved by his grace.  I am led by the Holy Spirit – God’s presence inside of me, and it creates within me a continuous unrest for my life as it is – a desire to live a life aligned with God’s purpose for my life.

Knowing those things, I choose to live a life reflective of Christ’s teachings, so that others may see him, through me, and may come to know him more.

So, “Who are you?”  Take a few minutes to think about a similar statement for your life.  Write it down if you like.  Post is here if you can’t be there in person on Saturday morning at 7:30.

I’m In,

Darin

Well, I have to be honest.  When I was planning the discussions for this “Who Am I” series, this upcoming week was the one I was most stressed about.  This week we’ll tackle “Who (or What) is the Holy Spirit?”

Most of us are comfortable with the concepts of God and Jesus, but the Holy Spirit, by its/his/her (see I can’t even come up with the right pronoun) nature is difficult to define.  But, this faith thing wasn’t meant to be easy, and it wasn’t meant to be done in isolation, so let’s get together and work towards a shared understanding of the Holy Spirit.

In John 14, Jesus says

26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

If you, like me, believe that U2 is not only the greatest rock band of all time, but, more specifically, the greatest Christian rock band of all time, maybe Bono’s lyrics in Mysterious Ways (which David first pointed out to me seemed a reference to the Holy Spirit) will help you form your thoughts on the subject

Johnny take a walk with your sister the moon
Let her pale light in to fill up your room
You’ve been living underground
Eating from a can
You’ve been running away
From what you don’t understand…
Love

She’s slippy
You’re sliding down
She’ll be there when you hit the ground

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways

Johnny take a dive with your sister in the rain
Let her talk about the things you can’t explain
To touch is to heal
To hurt is to steal
If you want to kiss the sky
Better learn how to kneel

(on your knees boy)

She’s the wave
She turns the tide
She sees the man inside the child

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
Lift my days, light up my nights

One day you will look…back
And you’ll see…where
You were held…how
By this love…while
You could stand…there
You could move on this moment
Follow this feeling

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright

We move through miracle days
Spirit moves in mysterious ways
She moves with it
She moves with it
Lift my days, light up my nights

There it is, four lines from the end of the song – “Spirit moves in mysterious ways.”

Consider your mind blown.  See you Saturday morning.

I’m in,

Darin

This Saturday we are getting back into the routine with Check-In, and I hope many of you can make it.  We’ll meet in David’s office from 7:30 – 8:30.  We’ll try to start on time so anyone needing to be somewhere by 9:00 can get there.  We’ll be starting a new topic that I’m calling “Who Am I?”

This week we will actually be focusing on a different, but foundational question, “Who is God?”  The following weeks we’ll look into a few other questions, ultimately leading to the a good discussion about who each of us are.

I saw many of you at the Good and Beautiful Conference this weekend, and I’m certain that you learned a lot from it.  If you missed the conference, you can watch the sessions online through the church website.  One of the first concepts discussed at the conference was the idea that we all have a unique narrative about who God is.  This inner narrative is key to our understanding of God and our relationship with Him.

So, the question for the week is both simple and extremely complicated – “Who is God?”  More specifically “Who is the God you were first introduced to, and who is the God you know now?”

This should be good.

I’m In,

Darin

 

“If it feels good, do it” was a catchy line from the Better Than Ezra song “Teenager” from 1995.  As a teenager, this seemed like a pretty good philosophy for life.  I would like to say that with maturity, denying myself and delaying gratification has become easy, but that is not necessarily the case.  With practice, I’ve gotten better, but it’s never easy.  We can all relate to Paul’s statement in Romans 7:15

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

Personally, I think that Self-Control is a misnomer.  It is neither about self nor control.  It’s about putting others, or God, first, and releasing the illusion of control.  But, we can talk about that more on Saturday.

 

So, we all face temptations every day, some big, some small.  I won’t ask you to name them (although you’re more than welcome to share), but I will ask

“How do you manage these temptations is a healthy way?”  

See you guys Saturday morning, 7:30, in David’s office.

I’m in.

Darin

 

Check In: August 1, 2015

Ryan Murray here.  I am designated hitter for Darin this week, so join me and several guys to kick off another summer weekend with Men’s Check In. This week, we will continue the discussion of the Fruits of the Spirit and faithfulness. What kind of fruit should you produce when you are connected to the Body of Christ? “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control” (Galatians 5:22-23a NIV).

There are many aspects in our life that benefits from our faithfulness. We benefit from faithfulness to our wife, our kids, our friends, our trust in God, and so on. As leaders of our families and communities, how do we know if we are aligned with how God wants us to be faithful? Rick Warren boils it down for us with 6 essential questions to ask ourselves about our faithfulness:

  1. Do you possess the right values? A faithful person knows what’s important in life and what isn’t important in life.
  2. Do you care for the interests of others? God says faithfulness is proven by our others-directedness and by giving our life away, by looking at others rather than concentrating on ourselves.
  3. Do you keep your promises? The Bible is saying that faithfulness is a matter of if you say it, you do it. You keep your promises.  The number one cause of resentment is unfulfilled promises.
  4. Do you develop your God-given gifts? God has made an investment in your life and He expects a return on it. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each should use whatever spiritual gift he has received to serve others faithfully, administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
  5. Do you obey God’s commands? We can be skilled leaders, but disobedience disqualifies us from being seen as faithful as God defines it.
  6. Do you pass on what you learn? You’re to give what you learn to faithful men and those faithful men are to give it to others, and so on.

What questions were easy and which questions need some more consideration? Think about one of these questions this week that needs some work in your life. I think improving just one area of faithfulness will help provide a meaningful benefit in your life.

Note from Darin – We have several guys signed up for the Good and Beautiful Conference on September 11-12, but we still have a few spots available.  Our reservation includes a Meet and Greet with the author, Dr. James Bryan Smith.  If you are interested in attending this conference, and especially if you are attending the Meet and Greet, I need to know in the next week.  E-mail me if you would like to be included.  The cost is $15.

See you at Check In this Saturday morning at 7:30am (David’s Office),

Ryan

We are jumping back in to our discussion of the Fruits of the Spirit this weekend.  We’ve covered Love, Joy, Peace and Patience.  This week we’ll discuss Goodness, Kindness and Gentleness.  We’ll wrap this series up over the next two weeks with our final discussions on Faithfulness and, finally, Self Control.  I hope you can join us each Saturday for the next three weeks at 7:30 in David’s office.

The scripture this week is the “Good” Samaritan

Luke 10:25-37New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

I know that this is a familiar story, and there is a lot to unpack.  But, I want to focus on the title of the passage.  This is always referred to as the “good” Samaritan, but nowhere does Jesus refer to him as “good” in the parable.  So as we discuss goodness, kindness and gentleness, the question of the week is

What makes the Samaritan so “good?”

Note – We have several guys signed up for the Good and Beautiful Conference on September 11-12, but we still have a few spots available.  Our reservation includes a Meet and Greet with the author, Dr. James Bryan Smith.  If you are interested in attending this conference, and especially if you are attending the Meet and Greet, I need to know in the next week.  E-mail me if you would like to be included.  The cost is $15.

I’m in

Darin

Hopefully you all had a safe and fun Independence Day.  We are meeting again this Saturday at 7:30 in David’s office.  We are continuing to work our way through the Fruits of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23  (NIV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Typically the fourth fruit is stated as “patience,” but I like the interpretation of “forbearance” better.  Patience brings about the idea of waiting idly by for something fortuitous to happen.  Forbearance speaks of endurance and perseverance in adversity.  More like the patience of Job.

James 5:10-11 (NIV)

10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

If you missed Misha’s comment from last week’s post, I thought his excerpt regarding Admiral Stockdale was fitting for this topic.  Check it out if you have a couple of extra minutes.

Question of the Week:  How do you endure in times of adversity?

On a technical note, we’ll bundle kindness, goodness and gentleness together next week.  Then spend a week each on faithfulness and self-control.  I’m thinking of a wrap-up session, or maybe a get-together of some type off-site when we’re done.

Also, we still have a few reserved spots available for the Good and Beautiful Conference on September 11-12.  Cost is $15, and we’ve got a spot for our group at the meet-and-greet lunch on the 12th with the author.  Let me know, and get me your payment, if you’re interested.

I’m in.

Darin

Check-In: June 20, 2015

Darin Charles —  June 16, 2015 — 1 Comment

Thanks to all of the guys who came out for Check-In last week.  We had a great session as we returned to weekly Saturday meetings.  We’ll meet again this Saturday at 7:30, in David’s office.

We’ll continue to spend a good amount of time to let every guy check-in, and then we’ll resume our discussion on the fruits of the spirit.  This discussion is based on the passage from Matthew 6 that guided last week’s talk:

Matthew 7 New International Version (NIV)

17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

This week we’ll focus on the fruit of Joy. John 15 says this about joy

10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Joy was actually my “word of the year” a couple of years ago.  Specifically the idea of sharing and showing the joy I feel in my life.  Although I consider myself a joyful person, I have a difficult time expressing that.  How about you?

Question of the Week:  How do you express the joy that you feel?  If, like me, you’re not very good at it, how can you improve?

Special Announcement:  The Church will be hosting a conference with Dr. James Bryan Smith, author of one of David’s favorite books, The Good and Beautiful God, on September 11-12.  The conference should be great, and I hope you can all attend.  I have reserved us at least 10 spots to the conference, and in doing so, I have secured us a special lunch with Dr. Smith on the Saturday of the conference.  If you would like to go, comment on this post, and I’ll get your reservation set.  We’ll discuss this more in the coming weeks.

I’m In.

Darin

We are returning to our roots this weekend, and I’d love to have you join us. Starting this weekend, Saturday, June 13, we will return to weekly check-in group meetings. We’ll meet in David’s office, upstairs in the A&E building at the church at 7:30, and try to wrap up the discussion by 8:30. Many men who’ve been a part of this group will testify to the power that can come from a consistent group of guys getting together on a weekly basis to share life together.

In an attempt to get back to our roots, we’ll spend a good amount of time with traditional check-in – how’s your week? what’s going on in your life now? what’s going great? where are you struggling? Then, if we have time, we’ll spend some time with an open discussion on the topic of the week (or with some other important topic that has surfaced during the check-in). My goal is to keep the topics to basic concepts that tie into our common goals of being better husbands, fathers, employees (or bosses), community leaders and Christ-followers.

I’d like to spend the next few weeks talking about a basic concept – the fruits of the spirit.

Matthew 7 New International Version (NIV)

17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

If you don’t remember all of the fruits of the spirit, just ask your children and they’ll probably be able to sing you a song to help memorize them. The first fruit is love. I think this is a great place to start with this re-boot of SMCI because, in my opinion, love is the core concept of Christianity.

So, the question is this: How and where do people see love when they see you?

See you Saturday,

Darin

Brothers,

I am writing today to give you information on our next gathering which will take place on Monday, May 18th at 8:00 pm in my office at the church, room 213 which is located on the second floor of building A. I really hope you can join and add your input to the discussion we have planned for Monday night.

What we want to do on Monday is follow up on the discussion we had last month regarding some potential ideas to expand the reach of this group. As many of you know, our model for gathering together has evolved over the last several years and last month I proposed an additional evolution of that. I think it is time for that change and I think we have the potential to impact the lives of a much larger group of men with a different model.

The proposal would be this…

A monthly gathering that would most likely take place on a weeknight here on our church campus. The first 15-20 minutes would be dedicated to the presentation of the topic for that month and then we would have break-out groups very similar to our original “check-in” model that would then give every man the opportunity to share their insight on the presenting question or thought. We would most likely want to launch this in the fall.

I have outlined the mission of this gathering in this way…

Cornerstone (or whatever we end up calling this thing… I was just playing with some names) is a men’s community dedicated to building faithful husbands, devoted fathers, and spiritual leaders in the marketplace.

There are lots of questions that I would like to discuss with you on Monday and hear more of your insight on this proposed change. I want to encourage you to take the time to be with us on Monday if you can. Your insight will help us sharpen what I hope will be a great blessing to the men of our faith community.

See you Monday.

David