As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.  Proverbs 27:17 (NIV84) It was a frigid early Friday morning, January 2005, and I was beginning to wonder… A new men’s group: God, what are You getting us in to? The Bob Evans Boys: The backstory Of course there’s a delicious backstory about how dozens of men of varied backgrounds voluntarily, without (too much) compulsion, came together Friday mornings over breakfast in a group that affectionately became known as “The Bob Evans Boys” (BEB). To be sure, this particular frigid early Friday morning in January 2005 wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for our wives who themselves were part of a new neighborhood Bible study God put it on my bride’s heart to kickoff just a year earlier.  As our wives were increasingly enjoying God and His blessings upon their new group, a thought slowly but surely, now audibly arose among them… Wouldn’t it be awesome...

“I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”  Matthew 25:36 (NIV) Been any place interesting lately? As school wraps up and spring glides into summer, many of us dream of vacations to places like Florida, Texas, California, Canada, or even Puerto Rico.  Wouldn’t it be cool to visit those places?  No doubt! But there’s a place I’ve repeatedly visited over the past year, a place different than any I’ve ever seen before: a state correctional institution.  In short, a state prison. In a move that only God could have orchestrated, I serve as a spiritual advisor (read “pastor”) to a dear brother in Christ whom I’ve known for years.  And while I’ve long known that a prison hold convicts, I didn’t realize until recently just how many lessons a prison also holds.  Our update shares five of...

“The living, the living – they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness.”  Isaiah 38:19 (NIV) Sunday’s forecast: Sunny with a high near 77. A day full of promise! We could do so many things today, Sunday: We could hit the gym; We could catch up on our latest Netflix series; We could finally clean out the basement; We could play baseball; We could even sleep in!   These choices are all good in varying ways, and there are so many more things we could find ourselves wrapped up in on any given Sunday, but I’d like to make a simple suggestion: Whatever your Sunday holds, Dad, take your family to church. When we take our family to church, we demonstrate our love for God in: worshipping Him publicly; singing His praises corporately; giving our time, talent, and treasure to Him bountifully; praying as a congregation to Him freely; and ...

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.”  Job 31:1 (NIV) Regrets. We all have them.  And this regret is probably my biggest. Of course, I’m not proud of it – totally ashamed of it, actually – but God used this repugnant habit, my biggest regret, to bring me back into right relationship with Him.  I just love how God works like that (see Luke 15:11-32)! That regret, that habit was a 16-year pornography addiction ending precisely on Wednesday, October 25, 2000 at 8pm.  God forgives sinners just like us. And, despite my wrong assumption all those years that I was the only one in the world caught up in this deceitful web of lust, I soon discovered upon coming “clean” there are millions of people of all ages caught up in that same web.  In fact, so prevalent is the scourge of pornography that over my years...

“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Matthew 5:31-32 (NIV) Well, I’ll admit it: this story isn’t what I initially set out to write. I had planned to celebrate one of stories of how God has been working so wonderfully through our ministry – stories that totally glorify Him, and I’m quite confident God will allow me to share them with you in His perfect timing.  But, as you’ll soon see, the following story couldn’t wait, and God knew that.  So, I’ll move forward here in revealing this potentially tragic story, because I need for your help. It involves a simple piece of paper. And, we, dear friends, are that piece of paper.  More on that...

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” Matthew 25:21 (NIV) Wow.  I sure do miss him. I miss him even more than I thought I would…but I’m not alone in that. We all miss Robert. On December 3, 2016, Robert Buchter quietly succumbed to colon cancer.  It was at once a battle measured in years, a journey bathed in prayer, and a victory that resulted in a homecoming beyond compare: Jesus claimed Robert as His own, granting him life everlasting in Christ. (Matthew 25:21) Soon afterward, the family hosted Robert’s celebration of life service, and hundreds of us gathered to remember Robert, to comfort his dear family, and to celebrate what God had done through this humble man’s nearly 50 years on earth.  In a well-orchestrated, well-timed service that Robert,...

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” which means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:22-23 (NIV) From Isaiah’s prophesy of God’s promised Son 700 years earlier (Isaiah 9:6-7) to the angel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary with news of great joy (Luke 1:26-38), we can all exclaim the words of English hymn writer Isaac Watts, “Joy to the World, the Lord is come!” As you may know and according to Wikipedia, Watts penned these words of “Joy to the World” as a hymn glorifying Christ’s triumphant (second) return at the end of the age, rather than a song of His first coming.  God calls all nations to celebrate because His faithfulness to the house of Israel has brought salvation to the world!  How appropriate at this treasured time of...

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.  Psalm 127:3-5 (NIV) What are you aiming for? A big promotion at work that would make you king of your world? Early retirement to south Florida? The greenest lawn on your block? The biggest boat you can fit in your driveway? Local news highlight footage of your kid’s athletic accomplishments?   These “targets” are all-too-easy for me to quickly list off, because, at some point in my life, I had foolishly exerted an inordinate amount of time and energy aiming at them. Occasionally – no, make that rarely – I’d hit the target, but, most times, I’d shoot too high or too low, too far right or too far left.   And, embarrassingly, sometimes my arrows just plunged into the dirt faster...

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20 (NIV) Ever had one of those days? You missed your connecting flight, so it’s another night away from home. You let a customer down by missing a previously promised product delivery date. You just missed getting the promotion, but your best work buddy got it instead. You’re on the green in two, but miss an easy par shot and triple bogey instead. Your wife and kids tell you they haven’t seen you enough lately: they miss you. Having one of those days, weeks, months, or years right now? When we find ourselves missing out in any number of ways, we also often find ourselves missing what is arguably life’s most critical connection: building our relationships.  It’s these relationships that bind us together even when things seem to come unglued.  Is there a precedent for how we build...

“He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free…” Luke 4:18 (NIV)  Man, you just never know how God will work through a men’s retreat!  And the short story I share below is so wonderfully typical of the surprisingly unexpected ways God ministers through His people.  In short, I’m going to briefly introduce you to three men, two of whom you’ve probably never met before – one an ex-con – but you’ll feel like you know all three of us soon enough.  Let’s get started! Meet Bob This was Bob’s first time coming to a Frontline Ministries retreat, yet he has been faithfully following Jesus for years.  To say Bob came from a broken home would grossly understate his situation.  As Bob puts it, he knew there would be trouble after his divorced mother married his “step-monster”, a man who...