Get your groove back!
June and July have been a time of working on my groove. Intense months add up. They pull at strength and elasticity.
This article from the past speaks to me. Three Hats
Sometimes I just read my own stuff and get recharged. It is good to remember our velocity, veracity, and vitality all balance. Losing vitality can remove you from effectiveness. Velocity is the ability hit a timely target that has meaning. Veracity means being you, fully you.
So this Summer, I’ve rested on some items while allowing my creativity and concern a time to stew and gain clarity.
This picture has two images. One is the baton Dr. Ken Canfield gave to me in 2001 as a challenge to father the fatherless. The other is the world. It is my world, my sphere that needs influencing.
What is your world? Mine is Oklahoma City, Canadian County-Ok, Love County-Ok and Cooke County-Tx specifically and 34 state legislative bodies nationally. It encompasses schools, government, courts, congregations, and business.
What is your focus? Mine is the fatherless and fractured families.
What is your POA? (Plan of Attack) One of mine is the creation of Dad’s University dvds customized to location to move from reaching hundreds to reaching thousands. We’ll go for tens of thousands later. One step at a time here.
You have opportunity to be a part of the next thrust to thousands. I need mentors, trainers, and givers. GIVE HERE
If you want to volunteer, shoot me a note. VOLUNTEER HERE
Community outreach for the fatherless takes many forms. Through partnerships with Tulakes Elementary, Jesus House, CAREVI, Cooke County Probation, and Hope Connection, we are busy. Read forward to learn about Katie’s Story. It is powerful and confirms the impact of community engagement. GIVE HERE
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (GNT) And so encourage one another and help one another, just as you are now doing.
Over the week, God has uniquely appeared on many doorsteps.
Steven and Jackson reached out in the neighborhoods Monday evening. There were a few memorable moments. One couple tearfully asked for prayer for their marriage in their driveway and received a strong touch of God. Another gentleman expectantly received prayer for his family out by his garage. His grandchildren are not coping well with the suicide of their father three years ago. He was excited to introduce Steven and Jackson to his 14 year old grandson. Others looked to God for answers in their doorways.
In the businesses, professionals and owners asked for strength in family, recovery from depression, and anointing of God for customers. One looked for their father, a former minister, to return to a congregation family. Wounds of life run deep. God was busy.
Saturday, while planning for an additional neighborhood in the Matamoros outreach, Raul encountered a friend in the restaurant. As I was paying for the breakfast in our favorite greasy spoon, Raul’s friend explained in quiet Spanish his ailments. Turning from the cashier, we prayed for him in the foyer. It was visibly evident that God was touching him. Unknown to me, we were being studied.
As we reached our car, a voice called to us. “Excuse me, my name is Katie.” She went on to explain she had watched as Raul’s friend received prayer. She and her husband do not attend a church. Through a series of events, they had benefited from a little extra income and wanted to tithe from it. Would we accept it for our church? She reached into her purse and counted out five $20 bills.
Let’s call it “Katie’s Gift”. God has a special way to encourage us when we reach hard moments. For me the gift was an immediate return of blessing. I really did not have the extra dollars to pay for my friend’s breakfast or the time that morning. Together, Raul and I lean on each other. Breakfast is a family moment for us. We talked of struggles and disappointments and joys, while we prepared to give out of our need for others. By unexpected source, our upcoming trip expenses were almost covered and all the supplies were on order for the kids. This gift was an unexpected and welcome encouragement.
Over the week, I had witnessed God touch believer and unbeliever in driveways, offices, restaurants, furniture stores, gas stations, chiropractor offices, antique stores, garages, doorways, curbside in the street, parking lots, over the phone, and at the parsonage. And one of them, watching from the side like the grateful leper chased us down to say, “Thank you, God.”
Luke 17:5 and the apostles said, “Lord, increase our faith.”….. GIVE HERE
11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”
How interesting that in this story, it is one who is not a church goer that gives the thank you? The Samaritan is not a Jew. But none of the church goers returned to say thank you. Only the Samaritan returned. He did not wait to see the priest, but ran back as soon as he knew God touched him. Like Katie in the parking lot, respond to God with gratefulness for His grace. We have so much that it can become common and expected as if we were entitled. It is easy to take advantage of His touch and blessings and take for granted our health, leaders, facilities, teaching and all He makes available to us and others. It is easy to get focused on our desires and withhold our gratitude. When was the last time you were so excited about God blessing someone else that you ran through a parking lot to thank Him with a good and sacrificial gift?
Katie’s Gift challenges me and encourages me. There is faith in the land. Lord, increase my faith. GIVE HERE
The heart of the father needs to get fixed on the kids. Lifelong Dads. Kids Need ‘Em. They do.
There is a generation of fatherless fathers needing practical ways to engage with their kids. They really struggle. CTI is focusing our efforts on Dad’s University. It is an effective manner to reach men and get them focused on their families.
For Fall of 2014, we are determined to put out regular dvd classes for men. It is tough to parent in today’s mixed message world. A quick 5 min lesson on fathering can make a day move faster.
Host: Hope Connection 3404 N. Grand Ave 940.580.4887
June 14th 10am to 2pm – FREE ….REGISTER BELOW so we can have lunch and workbooks ready.
Real men need real education in fathering. Unleash your father power to build more personal satisfaction in your life and the lives of those that call you, Dad.
Being a dad can be a tough job at times. It is worth your effort. Your kids need you. Dad’s University will help you gain understanding of key dynamics of consistency, active listening, nuturing, support, protecting and providing, and equipping that are important to you and your child.
A fathering profile will assist you in focusing your efforts as a Dad on what will make the most difference for your family.
Whether you are in the home with your children or doing the work of a Dad and living outside of the home, your kids need you to be the best Dad you can be with the time you have with them.
It is a wonderful job. Doing it with increased knowledge and help just makes it better.
A prayer supporter sent me a note encouraging Gethsemane level commitment. A probationer holding his own out of our Gainesville class sent me a word of encouragement. A woman ready to throw off a life of drugs and abuse and father abandonment pains asks for counsel. State legislators from 10 states send thanks and ask for personal intercession. 20 men gather at the Jesus House like baby chicks reaching for food to be trained in fathering and family. Thousands read a lesson or encouragement on a variety of facebook, blog, direct mail, and email outreaches. A man looks at me and says, “You mean you can help me not go back to prison for the seventh time if I learn this and use it?” He is tough, hard, rough, and weeping with hope that he can live with his family. A kid in a neighborhood of 80% fatherless homes sees a man in his school wearing a Watch D.O.G.S. t-shirt and smiling at him. The man is a volunteer. He has no children, but he is there. Another desperate dad signs up for Dad’s University. A city council, chamber of commerce, or Rotary Club is informed and updated on issues and answers. A leadership meeting of 80 key community actors in business and government and congregations and non-profits is convened with a national speaker.
Welcome to my normal day. It happens with 3300 state legislators in 34 states. It happens in Marietta, Oklahoma, Gainesville, Texas, Matamoros, Mexico, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma where we have campuses in motion to support families. It happens in my home office, my car, on the internet, face to face, in our Marietta and Gainesville training centers, at the Jesus House, at Tulakes Elementary, en las colonias, at CAREVI, in community centers, on the phone and through books. It happens with 14-18 hour days.
At Gethsemane, you need to know you are doing the right thing.
When I filed my taxes, I was confident I would be audited. No one can get all of this done on a ridiculously low level of funding. We did. Last year Community Transformation Initiative brought in less than $40,000. I serve as the secretary, tax consultant, lawyer, accountant, office administrator, business developer, trainer, purchasing agent, event coordinator, writer, webmaster, marketer, counselor, and volunteer coordinator. Everything gets done a little bit. Nothing gets done at the level of excellence for which my heart cries. I am a scrapper, an entrepreneur, an inventor, a visionary, and an organizer. I am relentlessly driven to do the right thing.
At Gethsemane, you need to know your commission.
The commission of Elijah and John, the Baptist and Jesus Christ is to turn the heart of the father to the child. And they’ve handed me and you the baton. I remember the day Dr. Ken Canfield put a baton in my hand to do the work of fathering. I pick it up regularly and say, “Yes, Father.” Every day is a Gethsemane prayer, “Father, this is your child, Phil, nevertheless, not my will, but thine.” Every day requires a miracle to get to the next one. I don’t complain. I’ve watched good man after good man stand up and sit down on this job. I’m still standing. Scriptural principle says, “Do everything as unto the Lord and not unto men. Do it without grumbling and complaining.” I knew when I committed my life as a missionary to men that it would be rough.
At Gethsemane, you sacrifice and sacrifice that others might live.
People love to give to maintain poverty and provide patches. It feels good. Really working at the root and changing men is not popular. Unless the heart of the father is turned to the child our nation will continue to smitten with the curse of abortion, divorce, pornography, abuse, neglect, abandonment, drugs and alcohol. It won’t happen preaching to the church choirs. It will only happen in the dirty, nasty work where D comes. D has four children by four women in four neighborhoods. He looks to change and goes and gets other men like himself. He comes every time I can be in his neighborhood. But $ backing ran out. All we need is a little gas money and income to live. There is probably $2 million a year spent in his neighborhood on after school fun for kids, single mom support, sports engagement, tutoring, and other patches. And he cries for someone to touch his father heart and bring it to life, so he can do all of that with the dignity of fatherhood and the power of love and the equipment of knowledge and the responsibility of being a man. He wants to be the solution. Instead, his family gets maintenance.
Maintenance is good. It keeps the dogs of despair at bay. But it is not working positive community change. The statistics get worse every year. More people depend on benevolence and subsistence, more kids go to foster care, more mentors are needed, and more homes are without fathers. You can’t effect change with maintenance. Maintenance is well, maintenance. It maintains the issues, the problems, and the pain at a tolerable level until our sensitivity and acceptance drops another notch lower and we are drugged into a lull of more maintenance.
At Gethsemane, you do the right thing.
At a low point in the struggle, I sat across coffee with Tom, a veteran of business and community transformation, looking for some wisdom. “Phil, God only asks you to obey. Do the right thing. He is in charge of the results.” There was not enough money in the bank to last another week. When the money runs out, I’ll go back to business. My family deserves a decent living and an available husband, dad, and granddad. They sacrifice me so other families can be strengthened. It is hard. I appreciate my wife and kids and grandkids more than anyone can believe. I missed a family birthday party last week. It hurt. They were fatherless for an afternoon so that others might be fathered. A surprise check from a surprise source put me back to work in the hard zone for another few weeks.
At times, I have to step away from families, let them die, and work a business contract to pay my bills. Those are dark days. They hurt. I don’t mind a little bit and really, staying connected to the results-oriented business mindset keeps me from building an ineffective outreach of maintenance. I’m good at helping businesses organize, fix issues, and market. It is fun. But, it hurts when I have to depend on it and every hour spent there leaves a group of families in distress and dependence on maintenance.
At Gethsemane, you give.
Now, here is your Gethsemane challenge. All it would take to move from struggle to sustaining is 100 giving 100 a month. That is 100, men, women, or businesses giving $100 a month to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children. To move from sustaining to impact would take another 100 giving 100. To move from impact to community transformation would take another 100 giving 100. To be truthful, most non-profits with one tenth of our effectiveness operate on more than that. We are excellent stewards and results oriented operators.
The Community Transformation Initiative lives when you give. For over a decade as a businessman, I’ve been the giver, doer, and connector. Now, I need to be the trainer of trainers, organizer, and developer of an impact organization that will outlast all our lifetimes and effect family transformation and move the statistics to the plus side. It needs to happen in the tough zones and it needs to happen now. We are living in a society of increasing fatherless homes, increasing drug and alcohol, increasing violence, increasing poverty, increasing abuse, and decreasing family stability. There are more children fatherless today, who have never had a father, than total fatherlessness in 1960. They are born to women in their 20s and 30s, who have no desire to have husbands. These women are professionals, skilled workers and normal citizens. Their fathers have not been there for them. They are not all welfare recipients. This generation has given up.
Our sensitivity has been dulled into acceptance of this condition. It is not Godly, it is not going to go away by itself, and it must change. It will only change by turning the heart of the father to the child.
The power of change is in your bank account and your spare time. I’ll train you to go out and do the work, if you will enter Gethsemane with me. I’ll take your dollars and train others, if you will enter Gethsemane with me. Give like no one else is giving. Let’s get this effectiveness to thousands and see our community changed.
When I receive your first gift, I will send you a copy of my book, Time To Lead. It is a study of Hezekiah and 54 other world leaders in business, community, government, and military, who worked to transform. Hezekiah effected radical community change through leadership. You can too.
Community Transformation Initiative 508 Tumbleweed Dr., Yukon, Oklahoma 73099
This morning I remember my friend, Abuna Nasr. Fr. Constantine Nasr is a nineth generation minister. Born Palestinian in Jerusalem, he is the continuance of over 400 years of Christian ministers father to son in the Holy Land. He keeps the communion cup handed down father to son over those 400 years. That is generational living. That is the blessing of the father continuing and continuing.
As we mourn the disruption in the church at Oklahoma City this week with a “father in the faith” under public scrutiny and stepped out of ministry influence, I think of generational men like Dr. Herman Reece of CBMC and Tom Hill of Character First and Fr. Nasr of the Antiochan Orthodox and Dr. Frank Tunstall of the IPHC and Dr. Major Jemison of the Progressive Baptist convention. These men each have full right to speak into my life and they do just that. From the ecclesiastical, ecumenical, expressionist, evangelical and executive seats of influence they are nation changers and generation builders.
While soaking the wisdom of Abuna Nasr (Abuna is a special personal distinction and means spiritual father), he shared a generational blessing with me. He reached to his wedding ring and turned it on his finger. “Phil, when you are away from your wife, just do this and remember who you are.” He was challenging me to be a man of generations and stability and keep a long term view of faithfulness and covenant. Here is a tip handed down for generations father to son and now is my blessing. He’s right.
Tom looked at me recently and said, “Phil, you are not responsible for the results. You are responsible to do the right thing. Keep doing it.” Wise words from a generational man. He’s right.
This morning Ed Zielinski, county attorney in Cooke County, Texas, turned to me in conversation. Sitting at a chamber of commerce breakfast, we were talking about some young men on probation who have trouble thinking a clear thought. Fatherless and a life of drugs and crime and their minds just don’t work clearly. And yet another man, who spent 30 years in prison, who is now working to live a good life. Ed admonished me, “Phil, God designed you to help these men think through this.” He’s right.
It is good to be surrounded by generational men, who meditate in the word of God day and night, who do not sit in the seat of the scornful, and who work on growing forests instead of flowers. It is easy to grow a temporary garden of flowers that fade in a few days after blooming. It is tough to grow a forest of trees that will stand 400 years. Fathers grow forests.