Tusculum Men on November 26th, 2014

heaven“Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs.” Ecclesiastes 5:15 NIV

Think for just a moment about the things you own. Think about the house you have, the car you drive, the money you’ve saved. Think about the stocks you’ve traded and the clothes you’ve purchased. Envision all your stuff, and let me remind you of two biblical truths.

Your stuff isn’t yours. Ask any coroner…No one takes it with him. When one of the wealthiest men in history, John D. Rockefeller, died, his accountant was asked, “How much did John D. leave?” The accountant’s reply? “All of it.”

All that stuff—it’s not yours. And you know what else about all that stuff? It’s not you. Who you are has nothing to do with the clothes you wear or the car you drive. Jesus said, “Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot” (Luke 12:15 MSG). Heaven does not know you as the fellow with the nice suit or the woman with the big house or the kid with the new bike.

Heaven knows your heart.

Tusculum Men on November 23rd, 2014

hikePeople with high self control are happier than those without. This is true because self disciplined people are more capable of dealing with goal conflicts. These people spend less time debating whether to indulge in behaviors detrimental to their health, and are able to make positive decisions more easily. The self disciplined do not allow their choices to be dictated by impulses or feelings. Instead, they make informed, rational decisions on a daily basis without feeling overly stressed or upset.  Despite what many may think, self discipline is a learned behavior. It requires practice and repetition in your day-to-day life.  Improved self discipline will allow you to live a freer life by helping you to make healthy choices, not emotional ones. Give these 5 simple suggestions a shot.

  1. remove temptations and distractions – set yourself up for success by ditching bad habits
  2. exercise and eat right – allow you brain to focus on your goals and priorities instead of on your growling stomach
  3. don’t wait for it to “feel” right – when a behavior becomes habit, we stop using our decision-making skills and instead function on auto-pilot
  4. schedule breaks, treats and rewards for yourself – self-discipline can be hard so reward your efforts
  5. forgive yourself and move forward – just KEEP MOVING FORWARD no matter how many setbacks you may experience along the way

“run with endurance the race that is set before us”, Hebrews 12:1

Tusculum Men on November 14th, 2014
It is not too late for you guys to come and join in on the fellowship tonight at 6:30 in the Tusculum Gym for the Wild Game Dinner and Games night.  Come and eat, come and play, but the most important thing is for you to just come and join the other men in the congregation for some time of just making new friends and getting together with some old friends.
Bring a dish to share, a game to play, but the main thing is just bring yourself.
See you at 6:30!
The Men’s Ministry Team
Tusculum Men on November 11th, 2014

climbDeciding to live life outside of what others consider to be the “norm” can feel like swimming upstream, jumping waterfalls and lying exhausted on the edge of the bank… just like the salmon.

  • I think we’re going to the moon because it’s in the nature of the human being to face challenges. It’s by the nature of his deep inner soul… we’re required to do these things just as salmon swim upstream. Neil Armstrong
  • Remember, a dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream. W.C.Fields
  • My life is what a salmon must feel like. They are always going upstream, against the current. Laura Schlessinger
  • Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom. Sam Walton
  • Throw your net on the other side of the boat; take the message of the good news to the Gentiles; be kind to your enemies and pray for them; seek not the things of the world, which rust and can be stolen, but seek first the Kingdom of God and store up treasures in Heaven. Jesus Christ
Tusculum Men on November 10th, 2014

Hey Tusculum Men,

Final preparations are being made for a night of fellowship for this Friday night, November 14th, beginning at 6:30, the guys will gather in the gym and share a dinner of wild game and fixings. There will be chicken, venison, ribs, and turkey and who knows what else might be brought. Afterwards there will be some corn hole, cards, and other games to play.

The only thing missing may be you!

If you have not had a a chance to signed up feel free to call or text David Gee at 615-479-5127 or email him at dgeeman@comcast.net and let him know that you are coming and what you might bring as far as food and/or games.

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Tusculum Men on October 31st, 2014

(For Guys Only) On Friday, November 14th, 6:30 pm, there will be a covered dish event hosted by the new Tusculum Men’s Ministry. There will be some prepared Wild Game and probably a bucket of chicken or two. Of course there will be other sides as well. A Corn Hole Tournament and cards will round out the evening. All Men of Tusculum are encouraged to make plans to attend. Please sign up in the Great Hall.

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Chris Burton on March 16th, 2011

Malachi 3:3 says: ‘He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.’

This verse puzzled some men in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the men offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the man called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for his interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining Silver.

As he watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then he thought again about the verse that says: ‘ He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.’

He asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The man was silent for a moment. Then he asked the silversmith, ‘How do you know when the silver is fully refined?’

He smiled at her and answered, ‘ Oh, that’s easy — when I see my image in it.’

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

Chris Burton on September 8th, 2010

  1. Think not only of your own interests, but also the interests of others.
  2. Find satisfaction in service.
  3. Determine life’s true priorities and fanatically pursue those things.
  4. Be a mentor and let someone mentor you.
  5. Do what you know is right even when you don’t feel like it.
  6. Ask people about their lives and be prepared to listen.
  7. Clean up the mess. Do what others think is beneath them.
  8. Apologize when you make a mistake.
  9. Be a principle-based person who does what is right, not just what is expedient or lucrative.
  10. Honor those who are older.
Tusculum Men on August 25th, 2010

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” ~Confucius

How can a mountain better prepare us for life? At over 14,000 feet, there’s more to learn than I would have thought.

Last week I sat on top of Mt. Shasta, a 14,179 foot mountain in Northern California. It was my first real summit and I was proud. Getting there took me through two days of snow, ice and below-freezing camping conditions, using crampons, an ice axe, and more layers than I thought I owned.

As I climbed, and especially on my way down, I began to realize the lessons required to reach the top and make it back down safely. As it turns out, the most important rules are just as relevant in the snow as they are in conquering our everyday challenges.

When was the last time you reached a mountain summit, whether outdoors or in life?

We face our own mountains everyday. Some small. Some big. There’s always a summit we want to reach. Maybe it’s running those few miles before work, making that intimidating sales call, or running your business. Goals, no matter the size, require a strategy for success.

A cold tall mountain reinforced an approach that can convert life’s everyday challenges into gratifying accomplishments.

A Guide to Reaching Life’s Summits

Pack light. I wish I took this more seriously. Every unnecessary piece of gear complicates things and detracts from the experience. Aside from the bare necessities, things do not make life better. They often cause more stress and keep you from what’s most important. The lighter your pack the better. Life is too short to be burdened with excessive possessions, emotional baggage or regrets. Positive thoughts, relationships and experiences weigh nothing at all. Pile them on and leave the rest behind. They’ll lift you to the top.

Take one step at a time. Any major accomplishment can be broken down into a series of single steps. My pattern for the mountain was 15 steps up, 15 breaths of rest. I did that for 7 hours. If I would have only focused on the very top, frustration would have overcome me. If your summit is too intimidating, break it into smaller steps. Focus on those one by one. Eventually one step will be the one that puts you on top.

Don’t go at it alone. When climbing, a partner is a must. For safety, support, camaraderie, motivation and simply to share the journey. You’d be silly (and putting yourself in great danger) to go up alone. Life is meant to be experienced with others. It makes the valleys shallower and the peaks higher. Relationships magnify experiences and help you do things that prove impossible alone. Don’t leave home without your support team.

Listen to the experts. Halfway up, a passing guide told us if we couldn’t get to the top by 12:30 at the latest, then to turn back. Chances of late day thunderstorms were too great. As amateurs we would have had no idea. While we all ought to experience our own paths, it’s foolish not to learn from and observe the guidance of experts. Choose your life models wisely and keep them close by on your journey.

Slow down. As Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia says, “It’s about how you got there. Not what you’ve accomplished.” Despite what colleagues and competitors may tell you, there is no rush. Rushing on the mountain risks slipping, not acclimating to thinning air, exhaustion and possibly death. In life the biggest risk is that you miss the wonders of everyday experiences in your pursuit to the top. The top is secondary to the process.

Look back and take in the view. There’s never any guarantee that you’ll get to the top, but you always have the ability to stop, take in a deep breath, smile and enjoy the view-whether it’s miles of wilderness or two feet of fog. It’s all wonderful. Every moment of life is a new view to appreciate.

Save some energy for the trip down. We thought the summit was “just over that peak” half a dozen times before it actually was. Conserve energy. Things will inevitably take longer than expected. Don’t be discouraged. Budget your capital, energy and drive appropriately. Rarely is anything in life an all out sprint. Treat it like a marathon. You may need your reserves when you least expect it.

Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory. These are Ed Viesturs’ famous words; the first U.S. man to summit all 14 peaks above 8,000 meters with no bottled oxygen. The summit will be there tomorrow and likely so will yours. If more planning, a stronger team or more support is required, then save the summit for a time when the payout is safer and more probable. If you are outmatched, know when to turn back, only to return stronger and more savvy tomorrow. Stay objective and don’t let short-term excitement get in the way of long-term fulfillment.

Failure is a part of the process. If we would have started our climb the week before, conditions would have been too grave to make it. Be ok with not reaching the summit every time. Falling short is inevitable. You will never learn more than from your failures…at anything. Embrace them.

A daunting summit is nothing more than a challenge. A challenge is simply an opportunity in disguise. You won’t summit every one you come across, but you will become a better person with each attempt.

There will always be another mountain. You are not meant to conquer them all. Past summits are simply preparing you for the next. With the right strategy, you’ll put the top within reach. When your summit arrives, you will be ready.

“It is not the mountains we conquer but ourselves.” ~Sir Edmund Hillary

Tusculum Men on June 21st, 2010

God tells Moses in Exodus 3:14,  “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. ”  YHWH is the promised name of God. This name of God which (by Jewish tradition) is too holy to voice, is actually spelled “YHWH” without vowels. YHWH is referred to as the Tetragrammaton (which simply means “the four letters”). YHWH comes from the Hebrew letters: Yud, Hay, Vav, Hay. While YHWH is first used in Genesis 2, God did not reveal Himself as YHWH until Exodus 3.  The modern spelling as “Yahweh” includes vowels to assist in pronunciation.  Many pronounce YHWH as “Yahweh” or “Jehovah.”  We no longer know for certain the exact pronunciation.  During the third century A.D., the Jewish people stopped saying this name in fear of contravening the commandment “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain” (Exd 20:7).    As a result of this, Adonai is occasionally a substitute for YHWH.

As we investigate further into the nature of God, we see His omnipotence in this name He gives Himself.   “I AM THAT I AM” reflects God’s eternalness.  He has always been and will always be.  As we spend time in prayer this week, let’s think about God’s eternalness and how we share this as adopted children.