Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chuck Colson - The Passing of a Giant

I knew this day would come but I just didn't expect it to get here so soon.  Saturday afternoon my friend and mentor Chuck Colson entered into his eternal reward.  When I heard the news that Chuck had finally passed away I was immediately flooded with memories and emotions that it has taken me some time to sort them all out.

I remember the first time I heard about Chuck Colson. I was in high school and learning about the Watergate scandal.  My teacher urged us all to read Born Again, Chuck's biography.  It was an incredible read about the power of the Gospel and how it affected one man's life.

A few years later I entered the Christian radio field and was reintroduced to Chuck through his Breakpoint commentaries and his ministry, Prison Fellowship.  Those commentaries began to stir within me an urge to learn more about my faith and how it affects every area of my life.  With that new passion I began reading all that Chuck recommended and most of what he wrote.

After a number of years and life going on the Holy Spirit began to stir my soul again to dig deeper into my Christian faith.  I attended a National Religious Broadcasters and was introduced to some representatives of Prison Fellowship who heard my desire to learn more.  The shared with me about Chuck's program The Centurions and how those that go through this year long study will grow deeper in their walk and understanding of their faith.

During my year in The Centurions program my relationship with Chuck grew from a man that admired to a man that I called friend.  Chuck challenged me to grow deeper and to never stop learning.  That's what he left for me - an insatiable desire to know the Truth and to share that Truth with as many as I can.

There were a couple of special moments in our friendship that meant so much to me.  The first was during a Centurion residency where Chuck and I and few others had dinner together.  Chuck and I had a small debate on the issue of case law.  To this day I don't know why I debated the issue with him.  But I think he had a deeper respect for me because I was able to share my opinion and stood by my convictions (by the way - I never debated him again!).

The second moment was an email I received from him after an apologetics conference we both attended.  I was there to interview a number of the speakers and tried to get Chuck for an interview.  The interview didn't happen.  I was a little disappointed but understood.  A few days later I received an email from Chuck personally apologizing that we didn't get together.  He said that if he had known that it was me he would have stayed a little longer.  After that Chuck was always available to be on my show when I needed him.

Another moment was something that my wife Kathy pointed out to me.  We were invited to a Prison Fellowship dinner in Atlanta and I was able to introduce Kathy to the man that, after my dad and grandfather, had made a profound impact on my life.  Once the introductions were made and we sat back down Kathy said that when she watched Chuck come to us I was the only person in the crowd that he hugged!  Can you imagine that! Nixon's hatchet man embraced me!  I will never forget that night.

The final moment came during the Doing the Right Thing tour.  Chuck and the tour stopped in Atlanta and I was able to bring my son, Jon-Michael, to the day long event.  I didn't know if Jon-Michael was going to get anything out of the event or if he would understand the issues being discussed.  After the event a few of us were able to join Chuck for lunch, and during the luncheon Chuck made a brief presentation and asked us questions.  Jon-Michael responded very intelligently about the topics that meant something to him.  Needless to say I was quite proud of him.  Chuck later commented to me how proud he was for job I was doing with my son.  I can't tell you what that meant to me.

While others will remember a giant in the evangelical Church and a man that worked in social justice before social justice was popular - I will remember a man who constantly challenged me and called me friend.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Man on the Run

Do you have a hyper-hobbied man in your life?  You know who I mean - those guys that live and breathe adventure, sports, and other pursuits that challenge and stimulate them.  What happens when those God-given passions become obsessions?  When they interfere with the important things in life like family, relationships and God?  Zeke Pipher, senior pastor of Heartland Evangelical Free Church in central Nebraska, has written a fantastic book that deals with those issues - Man on the Run: Helping Hyper-Hobbied Men Recognize the Best Things in Life.

Passionate, pursuit-driven men can make great husbands, fathers, friends, and colleagues because of their tendencies to "go for it."  However, these same qualities can destroy those same relationships and men end up losing what's most important in life.  How to have the best of both worlds is what Zeke attempts (and successfully accomplishes) to address in this book.

I had the chance to talk with Zeke about his book and what led him to write about what fuels a man's passion.  To listen click here or scroll down.  I can't help but recommend this book to men and women who want to have the adventurous life with out that same life consuming you.