we’re so close, but we still need you

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My brother:

This is awesome. We’re so close to meeting our goal of raising $45K by New Year’s Eve, but we still need your help! We need to raise $10K in the next two days . . . so that we can continue bringing you our very best stuff in 2018!

Every dollar counts—and donations are 100% tax deductible.

DONATE NOW, and Help Us Carry On in 2018!
IMPORTANT: We currently have a Matching Grant in effect >> two of our board members will match any gift you make today or before 11:59 PM PST, December 31st with one of their own. In other words, the impact of all year-end donations will be DOUBLED.
Strength and Honor, Love and Gratitude,
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Copyright © 2017 Gather Ministries, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up for WiRE at www.GatherMinistries.com.

Our mailing address is:
Gather Ministries795 Folsom Street, 1st Floor
San Francisco, CA 94107

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What this Year Might Hold

"My brother, here’s your WiRE for today ==>"

What this Year Might Hold

The Lord is my helper; I will not fear—Hebrews 13:6

We have an enemy, brother, and he is a liar. He “fills the world with lies” (John 8:44 MSG). He doesn’t tire of his work . . . and he is clever. He reserves certain lies, holding them, waiting for the right time and for the right men. For he knows that some of his lies are more persuasive at certain times and under specific circumstances.

As we stand now, looking out at the expanse of a new year, he knows it’s time to whisper fear into the minds of men. He’s whispering, to those who’ll listen, to be afraid of what trouble might be coming. He’s whispering this lie now because he understands our nature. He knows we like control. He knows we like to know what’s next. He knows it’s difficult to feel “in control” when facing the uncertainty . . . when anything, really, might happen. And so, he knows it’s time to take advantage.

We confront a choice, therefore. We can accept his lie, shoulder the fear, shrink back and focus on survival by returning to things that offer us just a little comfort—work, food, alcohol, pornography, distraction, withdrawal. Or, we can reject his lie, spurn his fearmongering, hold tight to the promises of God, and move forward—trusting that no trouble will surpass God’s ability to protect us and care for us.

“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘What’s next, Papa?’” (Romans 8:15-17 MSG)

What Worked? What Didn’t?

"My brother, here’s your WiRE for today ==>"

What Worked? What Didn’t?

. . . he is a new creation. The old has passed away;
behold, the new has come—2 Corinthians 5:17

God’s at work in us—every one of us—whether we can see it or not (Philippians 2:13). He’s working to transform our character into the character of his son, our King, Jesus Christ. And he’ll continue working until the work is complete (Philippians 1:6). Our job is to join him. Our job is to follow Jesus and work ourselves, in obedience, to increase the amount goodness and light in our lives . . . and to decrease the opposite:

“. . . do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:14-16).

Who among us doesn’t need more goodness and more light? That’s rhetorical, of course. And when’s a better time to increase our intentionality about increasing our holiness than at the beginning of a new year? That’s rhetorical too.

So how do we? Well, we get intentional by looking at the choices we’ve been making—whom we’ve been spending time with, the practices we’ve been engaging in, the experiences we’ve been enjoying. We get intentional by taking time to reflect upon those choices . . . and upon their results. And we get intentional by deciding which relationships, which practices, which experiences we’d like more of, going forward, because they increase holiness—and which we’d like less of, because they don’t.

Failure is on the Menu

"My brother, here’s your WiRE for today ==>"

Failure is on the Menu

I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships,
persecutions, and calamities—2 Corinthians 12:10

We men are often just wrong about failure. It seems we’ve all decided that if we ever experience failure, we’re then failures. It’s not true. Failure is integral to human life, the way God designed it. Look at Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Peter—all experienced failure, because they were mere humans. Mere humans fail every so often . . . and it’s good that we do.

Failure refines us. We mature through failures because we learn from them—much more than from successes. Through failures our character is formed (Romans 5:3-5). No man can become who he’s supposed to become without experiencing some failure in his life. Failure also fuels us . . . or, rather, the potential for failure. While we may not like failure, we like to face its potential. We like to be tested. It’s why we like competition. It’s why we like risk. It’s often the excitement of uncertain outcomes that drives us to learn from failures and improve, in the hope of avoiding more. But the potential for failure must be real. And when it is real, we will sometimes fail.

The danger, of course, is in getting stuck—in the shame of failures past or the fear of failures future, or maybe both. When we do, failure defeats us: we live dull lives, devoid of daring. But we need not get stuck. We can, instead, reject the shame of failure and learn to deal with it—by acknowledging fault; confessing and repenting (if sin was involved); facing any consequences; allowing God to teach us what we need to learn . . . and thenmoving on.

Blessed to Bless

“My brother, here’s your WiRE for today ==>”

Blessed to Bless

Good measure, pressed down, shaken together,
running over will be put on your lap—Luke 6:38

Have you been blessed? [Pause for a moment to consider.] What’s your reaction to that question? Is it easy to see how and how much you’ve been blessed? Or is it difficult, especially with so many people around who’ve been blessed more? Well, make no mistake; all of us have been blessed (Genesis 1:28). I mean, do you have a job, some money, enough to eat, a safe place to live, family, some friends, a church, or an education? It may be in unique ways and in varying degrees, but we’ve all been blessed . . . abundantly.

So how then should we think about these blessings? I mean, how can we reconcile the fact that we’ve been blessed with so much—so much more than countless men and women alive right now in other parts of this country and around the world?

The only way to think about our blessings, brother, is to view them as means to bless others. And the only way to view ourselves, then, is blessed to bless others. You see, knowing what we do about God and about his intentions for us (Matthew 22:36-39), how could we ever conclude otherwise? How could we ever conclude that we’ve been blessed simply so that we may live in comfort and security and isolation? What kind of story would that be, anyway? No, we must view these blessings as personal invitations into God’s much greater story of blessing other people.

Go Small to Go Big

“My brother, here’s your WiRE for today ==>”

Go Small to Go Big

So then, as we have opportunity,
let us do good to everyone—Galatians 6:10

Once we’ve decided to do something, we men often like to “go big.” We think to ourselves: if we’re going to do this thing, let’s really do it. We can bring this kind of thinking, this “go big” mentality, to all kinds of work, even the work God calls us into—that is, the work of loving and serving others. Great things can result, of course. But the mentality can backfire, too—for example, when we set our ambitions too high, get overwhelmed, and can’t follow through. It’s interesting that, knowing us as he does, our King, Jesus Christ, suggests an opposite approach:

“This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice” (Matthew 10:40-42 MSG).

Start small! Why does something rise up in our hearts, against that approach? Well, it’s mostly because by “going big” we hope to grab a little glory for ourselves. We want others to see us and think well of us. And if we don’t “go big,” they might not actually see our accomplishments. But, Jesus reassures us: “You won’t lose out on a thing” (Matthew 10:42 MSG). We must trust his words and trust that God the Holy Spirit can do amazing things within even our smallest, most ordinary acts of love and service. And that’s plenty big for any of us.

Look Again, Harder This Time

"My brother, here’s your WiRE for today ==>"

Look Again, Harder This Time

. . . and they shall call his name Immanuel
. . . God with us—Matthew 1:23

We men often feel alone. Even surrounded by family, friends, work colleagues, we can still feel very much alone. These feelings—not of loneliness, but alone-ness—are most acute, of course, in times of stress or struggle or suffering. You see, it’s when we’re most in need of help and companionship that we’re most apt to be convinced that no one’s going to help or no one’s going to understand . . . maybe not even God. Right? I mean, in those dark moments, it can feel like God’s just not there, or has turned away. In one of his dark moments, King David cried out: “I am cut off from your sight” (Psalm 31:22).

The truth is, God is always there, inevery moment, bright and dark. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). God doesn’t abandon us in dark moments, even when our sin causes the darkness. So we must learn to see him, even in those moments. One great way to learn is to look backwards, at dark moments from our pasts, moments when we felt alone, and look for him once more, a bit harder this time.

Here’s One of My Non-negotiables ⏩

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My brother,

I’ve got to tell you . . . I believe in community. I believe in the power of finding a few other guys—one guy, even—and meeting on a regular basis, so that God can do his work in our hearts and in our lives. Community, for me personally, has become one of my few “non-negotiables.”

But, why? Well, for a few reasons. “Two are better than one,” Scripture tells us—we’re stronger, less vulnerable, together. “For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:10).

Even more important, though, Jesus tells us that he’s uniquely present when we gather together. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20). You see, the Holy Spirit dwells within us. Therefore, when we gather, the power of the Spirit is able to flow from one to another and back. When we gather, the work of God is done: confessions are made; sins are repented; love and compassion are expressed; hearts are healed; encouragement is given; lives are transformed. Men are lifted up—up out of sin and rebellion, and into life and identity and calling. Life is lived in a way that it cannot be in isolation.

That’s why, if WiRE has begun to impact your life, even in a small way, I want to lay down a challenge for you: pay it forward. If WiRE has begun to impact your life, I want you to share it with someone else. You good with that?

Okay, here goes . . .

  • Quiet your mind for 10 seconds—close your eyes, if you’d like;
  • Now, ask God . . . “Who do I know who would benefit from WiRE?”
  • What thoughts come? A face? The name of a friend, a colleague, a brother, a father, a son?

Once you have your person in mind—or maybe two or three—I want you to send them an email or a direct message today. Tell them about WiRE. Make it personal. Tell them that it’s impacting you, and that you think WiRE might benefit them too. This isn’t a “share with everyone on Twitter” kind of deal. This should come from your heart and go right to the man (or men) God has put on it.

You can copy and paste this link to the WiRE signup page into your message:

WiREforMen.com/learn_more

I pray a huge blessing of community on your life, my friend. Pay it forward today.

Sincerely,

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Copyright © 2017 Gather Ministries, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up for WiRE at www.GatherMinistries.com.

Our mailing address is:
Gather Ministries795 Folsom Street, 1st Floor
San Francisco, CA 94107

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Just a thought

Morning thought –

This morning my thoughts lean a lot toward just being thankful for what we have right now. I look around and can see that all 6 of the kids are healthy. The ones that are old enough to have kids of their own; their kids are healthy too. Waking up and knowing that is a blessing in itself.

I also am blessed to still have those that raised me and all of the family except maybe a couple are still in-place. We have been smiled on a lot in life.

Thank you,
Arthur Poston Jr.

A Pernicious Loop

"My brother, here’s your WiRE for today ==>"

A Pernicious Loop

. . . he himself gives to all mankind
life and breath and everything—Acts 17:25

There are few more powerful (and potentially harmful) forces at work in the lives of men than the When/Then lie. It goes like this: when we get that job, that promotion, that house, that “number” in the bank account . . . then everything’ll be great. Things will settle down then. We’ll have peace and joy and security then. The lie wouldn’t be so bad, but for the behavior we rationalize and excuse with it, hoping it is true: neglecting people we’re meant to love; disregarding people we’re meant to serve; ignoring people we’re meant to rescue; treating badly and taking advantage of people we are meant to encourage and support.

Our enemy, the “father of lies” (John 8:44), created a clever one with the When/Then lie—it’s an infinite loop. You see, whatever “something” follows When is never as good as we think it’ll be. And so, any given “something,” when it’s achieved, is quickly replaced by a bigger, better one.

There’s freedom available to us, though—freedom to enjoy the abundant blessings we’ve already been given; freedom to access true peace and true joy and true security, right now—if we’re willing to reject the lie and, instead, embrace the promises of our King, Jesus Christ. He’s promised that our Father God will provide everything we need in any given moment (Matthew 6:25-34). His provision just might not look how we think or hope it will (Isaiah 55:8).