Brody Holloway
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Life Principles of the Gospel Man Part 5

  gospel headerBe an upward pull, not a downward push. 

I want to be the kind of person that makes others better.  Sometimes this comes about by setting an example.  Paul told Timothy to “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity”.  One of the simple things that I can do as an effective Christ follower is to set this type of an example.  This will encourage others and create a positive atmosphere that will be contagious and productive.

If I am always complaining, or negative, or simply ungodly in my speech and attitude, I will create dead weight for those around me.  I will become a downward force that is a burden.  But if I will be focused on encouraging and working hard, refusing to complain or be negative, then I will help those around me be better too.

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A man or woman of God should be dedicated to hard work and to making others better.  This will reflect well on Christ, and will make the company, the office, the crew, the class or whatever other day-to-day group of people by which I am surrounded more positive and joyful.

SWO Update

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We have just finished our first two rounds of Winter SWO Retreats.  This year, our Winter SWO teaching focus is Psalm 23.  This passage is a very familiar for most Christians, but it’s one that few of us have ever really dug into and studied.  The feedback from staff and students so far is really positive, and it seems that this is a very practical and encouraging study.  One of the goals we have here in our teaching ministry is to be faithful in our handling of God’s Word while being practical in our delivery and instruction.  We want staff, students and leaders to be encouraged as they sit under the teaching and preaching ministry of SWO, but we also want them to be focused and determined in their own commitment to study God’s Word—that they’d be shaped by it.

The kickoff to Winter SWO was pretty wild as unseasonably warm temperatures left us with no snow and no possibility of skiing or snowboarding.  Many of the groups that come for Winter SWO sign up to spend an afternoon at the slopes.  But this year, we just didn’t have that option.  With temperatures in the seventies, we did what we had to in order to make the experience memorable.  We went whitewater rafting!  That’s right.  We took students down the Nantahala River on the first day, but even that was cut short! We’ve gotten a lot of rain here lately, and since the forest service said the water levels were too high, we couldn’t go rafting the second day of the retreat.

The week between Christmas and New Years brought the craziest weather we had ever seen for that week, but the SWO staff, Pastors, and students who were here just made the most of it.  In the end, we had a blast, and the Gospel remained the focus of the week.  Students were challenged both spiritually and physically and God moved in our lives.

We will be traveling and preaching a lot over the next several months and maybe we will see you while we are on the road.  God is good, and we want to see him do great things in 2016.

Life Principles of the Gospel Man Part 4

gospel header“Fire anyone who uses the word “can’t” more than one time.”  For years, this statement I read by the CEO of a pretty impressive company has stood out to me.  However, this rule isn’t one that I have followed in dealing with those under my leadership and care.  In other words, I don’t ever fire someone for saying they can’t do something, but I do want to help them get over that attitude and become optimistic in every situation.  For me, it has been a personal challenge that when I am faced with difficult situations or obstacles to not let my instinct to be “I can’t.”  Whether in my personal, my professional, or in ministry life, I never want to have a defeatist’s attitude.  I never want the first reaction I have toward a difficult challenge to be, “Oh I can’t do that,” and then go on to give all the reasons why it would never work.  Instead, I want to begin by assuming I can do anything I am committed to and willing to work for.  Sure, there are things I simply do not have the skill or resources to accomplish.  But that should never be the conclusion with which I BEGIN a task.  I should have to be shown and proven that I can’t do something before I think about saying “I can’t.”  Then, if and when that proves true, I should have the humility to accept it.

We need to understand that God expects great things of us, and he expects us to work, and strive, and live life with a dogged determination to complete tasks and accomplish goals.   Get the word “can’t” OUT of your vocabulary.

Life Principles of the Gospel Man Part 3

gospel header There is an old Jewish folk tale about the Chief of the Tribe of Judah at the time of the Exodus, a man named Nashon.  As the story goes, when the people of Israel came to the edge of the Red Sea, they found themselves boxed in with the Egyptian Army closing fast.  The whole nation freaked out and gave up all hope.  They had the Sea before them, and an unbeatable army behind.  As they stood paralyzed with fear, bold Nashon walked straight out into the water and when the water got to his nose, the sea parted.  He was a bold and fearless man, and a man of great faith.

Now, we know that the biblical record of the parting of the Red Sea is much different.  Exodus 14:21 says that the sea parted when Moses obediently lifted his staff, as The Lord had commanded him.  God had told them that all they needed to do was be still and trust him, and he would fight for them (Exodus 14:14).  He did, and the sea parted, and in the end all of the Egyptians went for a terminal swim.  God did that.

But, the Nashon story is a cool thought.  What if…?  People love folk heroes.  Robin Hood, King Arthur, and the embellished stories of American pioneers like Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett all give evidence that we love heroes, and if none are provided we will make up our own.  The stories of war heroes Chris Kyle and Marcus Luttrell have turned into blockbuster successes because we love men who refuse to lose heart, refuse to despair—even in the face of the most adverse circumstances—and fight for victory.  Bloody, sweaty, dirty, and exhausted, these men win the day.

One characteristic of Gospel Man is that he will always see opportunity in any circumstance—even when others see only despair.  The Gospel dad who has bills stacking up and a wolf at the door won’t despair, but, rather, he will see the opportunity for his family to learn deeply of God’s faithfulness.  The Gospel employee who is facing a layoff in the middle of company cutbacks will see the opportunity to show his coworkers in Who lies his true faith and joy.  The Gospel kid, who faces the ugly horrors of her parent’s divorce, will rejoice in the pain, knowing that Jesus will NEVER leave her.  The Gospel spouse knows that it is never too late for The Lord to miraculously save a marriage.

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On the night that Jesus was betrayed and crucified, the disciples abandoned him. The Jewish leaders were gaining momentum, the Romans became involved, and the despair of it all overwhelmed Christ’s most faithful friends and disciples.  However, it was in the despair of his Crucifixion that the miracle of the Resurrection occurred.  Never has despair given way to opportunity like the Cross gave way to the grave, which gave way to the Risen Lord.  In that morning of Resurrection, Christ conquered death, but he also brought us with him.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.          —Romans 8:37.

In Christ we have conquered death and sin and that fact should give us a competitive edge in life.  Christians should be opportunists and the most hyper-optimistic of all people.

When life gets tough, you can either stand there on the edge of the sea and shake and gnaw your fingernails as the enemy approaches, or you can walk into the water.  But before the water is to your nose, God will show himself faithful, and THAT, will be your testimony to a despairing world.

The Refugee Dilemma

refugee In 1994 a man named Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians, and wounded over a hundred more. He believed he was waging a holy war and that his enemies deserved killing. People of faith tend to think and act to the extremes. As Christians, we need to think and act by the power of The Gospel. In America today, it sure feels like a lot of Christians are thinking from the same mindset that motivated Mr. Goldstein. It is alarming.

There is a lot of talk and even panic over the possibility of Syrian refugees coming into our country. I don’t want to get into a political debate over whether they should or shouldn’t. But, as Christians, we need to be constantly asking the question of how we may reach people with the Gospel. The Government we have allows for voting, interaction with Representatives, and activism. We should exercise those opportunities we have been given. So vote, and correspond with the offices of your representatives and senators, and trust in the sovereignty of the same God who left Nero on the throne long enough to kill thousands of Jesus’ followers. But we should absolutely be strategizing how we may utilize every means to reach the nations with the Gospel. When the nations come to our shores, we can bellyache about how they are going to kill us, or we can meet them with the Gospel.

The Gospel is bigger than guns and bombs. Jesus is greater than Allah. IF you are an evangelical Christian, you should already believe this.

**Blog originally posted on Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters.