A Disciple's Renewal

At our Recharge men’s retreat this past weekend, our speaker closed with asking us to meditate upon this penetrating Valley of Vision prayer.

I pass it on to us all for our edification.

O My Saviour, help me.
I am so slow to learn, so prone to forget, so weak to climb;

I am in the foothills when I should be in the heights;
I am pained by my graceless heart,
my prayerless days,
my poverty of love,
my sloth in the heavenly race,
my sullied conscience,
my wasted hours,
my unspent opportunities.
I am blind while light shines around me:
take the scales from my eyes,
grind to dust the evil heart of unbelief.
Make it my chiefest joy to study thee,
meditate on thee,
gaze on thee,
sit like Mary at thy feet,
lean like John on thy breast,
appeal like Peter to thy love,
count like Paul all things dung.
Give me increase and progress in grace so that there may be;
more decision in my character,
more vigor in my purposes,
more elevation in my life,
more fervor in my devotion,
more constancy in my zeal.
As I have a position in the world,
keep me from making the world my position;
May I never seek in the creature what can be found only in the creator;
Let not faith cease from seeking thee until it vanishes into sight.
Ride forth in me, thou King of kings and Lord of lords,
that I may live victoriously, and in victory attain my end.

Why Read Old Books & How Often

This Saturday our Oxford Club for Men dives into the introduction and first chapter of A Practical View of Christianity by William Wilberforce. For information on the meeting click here.

I confess I am eager to tackle such a challenging manuscript by someone long since gone to his heavenly reward for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is this counsel from another voice from the past, C. S. Lewis:

There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books…. Now this seems topsy-turvy. Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But if he must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old…. A new book is still on its trial and the amateur is not in a position to judge it. It has to be tested against the great body of Christian thought down the ages, and all its hidden implications (often unsuspected by the author himself) have to be brought to light…. It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between…. The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books (“Introduction” in On the Incarnation by Athanasisus, 3-5).

I can smell the salt air already. Hope to see many of the brothers on Saturday at 7.

A Practical View of Christianity

Pastor Procrastinator has finally made a decision. The ball has been called on the next book for our Oxford Club for men.

Starting March 10, 7 AM at the church office, we will begin to tackle the only book William Wilberforce, Britain’s 19th century champion of the movement to abolish the wickedness of the slave trade, ever wrote, A Practical View of Christianity.

Chuck Colson, in writing the preface to the Hendrikson Christian Classics version of the book (1996) called it:

. . . a direct challenge to the corrupted church of his day. But the book’s impact can scarcely be overstated. It became an instant bestseller, and remained one for the next fifty years . . . . A Practical View is credited with helping spark the second Great Awakening (the first was begun by Wesley) and its influence was felt throughout Europe and rippled across the ocean to America (p. xv).

Need I say more. Oh that it would please God to use this work to flame the fires of revival in our brotherhood!

I am pleased to say as well that we can access the text from a number of different directions.

For the ebook version click here.

For a pdf version click here.

For a google books version click here.

For a good, old fashion book version, and the text from which I will lead our discussions, click here. The cost through Amazon is only $10.25 plus shipping. If enough of you want this version and will tell me, I will make a bulk order and we can avoid the shipping altogether. Just shoot me an email at revheff@gmail.com.

A study guide for our first meeting will come along shortly. Please pray with me that God will us this book mightily in our lives!

Recharge Messages Now Available!

Good news!

All three messages by Jonathan Dodson on discipleship and the panel discussion to conclude our men’s retreat are now available on the audio portion of our website.

To listen to session one – Making Disciples – click here.

To listen to session two – Multiplying Disciples – click here.

To listen to session three – Maturing Disciples – click here.

To listen to session four – Panel Discussion – click here.

Of course the take away question of this post in light of Recharge 2011 is . . .


Followed closely by . . .


The Masculine Mandate in the Church

Our Oxford Club for Men group resumes this Saturday, December 10, at 7 AM, at the church office, with our ongoing study of Richard Phillips’ book The Masculine Mandate. Newcomers are always welcome!

After breakfast (bring your own please) we will discuss chapter 12, The Masculine Mandate in the Church.

Here is a sample from that chapter to whet the appetite:

So it is the Word of God–by grace of God taught, heard, understood, and applied–that accomplishes all progress within a church. From this, one conclusion is abundantly clear: any Christian man who wants to serve the Lord, in any role and at any level, must begin by devoting himself to God’s Word. A man who is weak in the Word of God will be of little use for service, for we cannot truly serve God effectively in our own knowledge and strength. But God’s Word stirs up in us the faith and spiritual strength needed to serve Him (p. 137).

You can access a copy of the study guide for this chapter by clicking The Masculine Mandate – SG #12.


I had to laugh out loud when I got copied on an email today from one of our elders to certain brothers in the body that he wanted to challenge to attend Recharge, our retreat coming up on Nov. 18 and 19.

I assume each of you men have signed up for the retreat and are looking forward to a spectacular day and a half together. Please let me know if you have any barriers to joining us that we can help to overcome such as: finances, transportation, work schedule, too long of a honey-do list, can’t find a babysitter, afraid you will be home sick, don’t want to sleep in a strange bed, afraid you will miss your football game, allergic to sand or surf, Saturday is your day to sleep in, think you already know how to make disciples, or quite possibly your wife won’t let you out of the house. We will try to help in any way we can.

That just about covered the list of objections in my mind, except for one. I call it two-men-in-a-bed-phobia. In an attempt to keep costs down and to enable us to fly in our speaker Jonathan Dodson from Austin, Texas, we decided to book four men to a room. That means two guys per queen bed. Now I get it. I don’t relish this prospect myself. I like my space. Sleeping next to some snoring brother with hairy legs just doesn’t sound like my favorite way to spend the night.

I already decided that I would bring my own mat, pillow, and blankie and take a spot on the floor in my room just for my own comfort.

And then today I learned about a couple of brothers that have ruled out coming only because of this arrangement! So I thought, why not make it official and offer one of them my bed to help overcome the objection?

It makes me wonder how many other men out there suffer from the same phobia? Maybe more than we think.

So here’s my challenge. Who else will join me in such an offering? Who will voluntarily give up his space in a bed for the sake of some who struggle with this unfortunate affliction?

The gospel can help you do this! Paul tells us in Phil. 2:5-11 to imitate Jesus in His looking-out-for-the-interest-of-others example based upon His magnificent stoop from heaven to earth to become obedient to the point of death. Let’s defer to one another, serve one another, and stoop for one another from the bed to floor in the name of Christ Jesus, shall we?

If you think the Lord wants you to make such a gesture for the sake of our diseased brethren, please let me know in an email so I can apply this gospel medicine for their healing and relief. Many thanks!

Seven Reasons to Get Recharged

This year’s men’s retreat at OGC is just around the corner. Here are seven reasons I think our men will want to attend:

  1. It’s good and pleasant for brothers to dwell together in unity and we will do that together in spades for a weekend (Psalm 133).
  2. Our mission is the Great Commission to make disciples and this event will help equip us to do that (Matt. 28:18-20).
  3. We are to fight the good fight and our speaker wrote a book (Fight Clubs) on how to do that (2 Tim. 4:7).
  4. Sin hunts us to deceive and harden our hearts and a concentrated time of fellowship and mutual exhortation like this weekend can help guard us from the enemy (Heb. 3:12-13).
  5. Our iron as men is to be sharp and getting together like this for iron-on-iron interaction will contribute to our razor-edge biblical masculinity (Prov. 27:17).
  6. Everybody needs an armor bearer to fight his Philistine-like battles and you may find one or more at this retreat who will say to you, Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold I am with you heart and soul (1 Sam. 14:7).
  7. And best of all perhaps is that the gospel is that in which we stand and by which we are being saved and the thread of teaching we will hear from Jonathon Dodson will strengthen our grasp of and delight in that gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-2).

Brothers, this retreat has the potential to generate more ripple effects long-term in our community at OGC than perhaps any I can remember in recent time.

Early registration closed on Friday, but there is still plenty of time to claim you spot. You have until November 11 to register for the normal rate of $75. After that late registration will run you $85, so act now.

If you need some help with a scholarship for registration, contact us at the office and we will see what we can do!

To register now, click here.

Masculine Mandate & Oxford Club for Men

Our next meeting for the men of OGC will take place on Saturday, Feb. 5, at 7 AM at the office.

If you need a jolt to motivate yourself to jump in on our study regarding biblical masculinity, take a gander at this clip.

Sobering, to say the least.

If that doesn’t rattle your cage and make you want to read chapter two in Richard Phillip’s book, I don’t know what will. It’s not too late to get on board and join the discussion. We’ve only tackled the first chapter so far. Copies of the book are available at the resource table on Sundays for $7.50.

Here is the study guide for chapter two to help get the most out of your reading.

The Masculine Mandate
Study Guide #2

1. What character from literature, film, or TV have you identified at some point as a “walking cornucopia of manliness?” How would you sum up that character’s approach?

2. How again does Phillips define our calling in life (Gen. 2:15) on p. 12? What two words say it all?

3. What would you say best describes your understanding of your calling before encountering Phillips’ grid? How do the two perspectives compare and/or contrast?

4. How would you unpack in your own words the first component of our masculine mandate? How does 2 Thess. 3:6-15 (not cited in the book) add to your insight about this component?

5. What two areas belong to the “gardens” to which we as men are called to give ourselves as cultivators? Of the two, where do you feel more competent and why?

6. What great misconception regarding gender roles does Phillips attempt to explode on p. 14? How do you react to his statement: God has given the primary calling of emotional and spiritual nurture to men and many of us fail to do it well? Why do you think men struggle with nurturing?

7. How would you unpack in your own words the second component of our masculine mandate? What further insight do you gain from Psalm 128 about this dimension of our calling?

8. How does the author exhort us to apply our responsibility to “bear the sword” at the bottom of p. 15? Where do you find yourself most challenged in these three areas and why?

9. How does Phillips define greatness at the end of the chapter? Whom would you identify as an example of this in your own life or in the greater body of Christ today and why?

10. What steps of practical application do you derive from this second chapter? How might you approach your own masculine mandate differently as a result of the reading and our discussion?

The Masculine Mandate – 2011 Book for Oxford Club

My agonizing journey through the wilderness of addiction in years past prompted me to read numerous books on masculinity. What a hodgepodge of ideas and speculations! Some proved more helpful than others. Never have I felt comfortable turning to one as the resource for our Oxford Club for men, until now.

Upon reading Richard Phillips’ The Masculine Mandate: God’s Calling to Men (Reformation Trust, 2009, 175 pages) just a couple of months ago, I felt immediately impressed that this book definitely warranted our attention as men at Orlando Grace.

Among other reasons, the book’s biblical and theological integrity struck me as remarkably unique compared to a good bit of what comes off evangelical publishing presses in our day and age. One reviewer, commenting for Discerning Reader, commented that it contains enough Scripture nearly to pass for a commentary!

The reviewer further notes:

What is the masculine mandate? Phillips says that, “Rather than following the American stereotype of cold, macho masculinity, Christian men should seek to grow in their ability genuinely to bless others.” He points to this mandate in Genesis chapter 2, which “shows that God created man for a purpose. God ordained that Adam would bear His image both in his person and in his work, and God put Adam in the world to work it and keep it—to be a cultivator and a protector.”

Men today, like Adam in Genesis chapter 2, are called to “work” and “keep.” “God put Adam in the garden ‘to work it and keep it’ and the only difference between Adam’s calling and ours lies in the details of how we seek to fulfill it.” What are some of the areas where men are called to be workers and keepers? The author concentrates on five: employment, marriage, children, friends, and the church.

Men have the responsibility to work hard to glorify God through employment. They are to be good husbands, loving their wife “as Christ loved the church.” They are to be godly fathers who both disciple and discipline their children. They are to be friends to the men whom God has put in their lives. And they are to serve and lead in the church.

Oxford Club resumes on January 8, 2011 at 7 AM at the church office. Newcomers to our band of brothers are most certainly welcome. We bring our own breakfast. We end promptly at 9.

You can secure a copy of our new book from the resource table any Sunday this month for a mere $7.50 or whatever you can afford.

Let me know you plan to come and I will send you a copy of a self-study guide to help prepare you for our discussion.

Pray with me that God works in the men of OGC to shape us according to a God-honoring masculine mandate that causes us to heed His calling as men in every sphere of our lives!

Men's Retreat


Have you marked your calendars yet?

Be sure to set aside Friday and Saturday, November 19 and 20, for our annual men’s retreat at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center in Leesburg, FL.

We will be joining with our brothers at Faith Baptist Church for an exciting time in fellowship and in God’s Word.

This year’s theme is In Praise of Lesser Known Saints: Making a Difference Though You’re No Household Name.

More details will be coming shortly.