He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people's disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.  Isaiah 25:8 (NIV)No, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a teen cry so hard, so forcefully.It absolutely broke my heart, and I felt powerless as my eyes took in the scene, my ears absorbed his wailing as my arms wanted nothing more than to embrace this tortured soul.Almost without fail, you can usually count on at least one moment at each men’s retreat or youth event that will surprise you, but this one was different for me.Uncharted territory.It was a Saturday evening, and dozens of men of varying ages packed out the room.  The only thing fuller than this room were the bellies of the men and teens who had just eaten an over-the-top “man-feast” to cap off...

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. Luke 2:16 (NLT)Surprised?No, not surprised.Confused?Yeah, maybe.Time to pray?Absolutely!That pretty much sums up my thought progression after I overheard my son asking his friend about his Muslim faith as his friend described his family’s Christmas tree.My son: “Oh, so does your family celebrate Christmas?”His friend: “We don’t celebrate the religious part, just the gifts part….”And immediately after hearing this exchange, God placed a simple, but profound thought into my head that I almost exclaimed aloud.  “Oh, dear child,” I prayed as I thought, “you’re missing the greatest Gift of all!”The “religious part” IS the Gift part – Jesus, who came to our world in a lowly manger (Luke 2:16), is the ULTIMATE Gift from our faithful Father (John 3:16).It’s not just this dear Muslim boy who looks past the Gift.  It can...

We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders. Psalm 78:4 (NLT)“Into the coal mine!”“To New York City.”“To be a plumber!”The men answered so rapidly that I could barely keep pace with them.  Obviously, I had posed a question that resonated deeply with this retreat audience of over 100 men from up and down the East Coast.Again, I repeated my question, “Where have YOU followed your dad?”The delightful barrage continued…“Into the medical field,” yelled out one man in the back.“To trade school!” piped in another.“Anywhere!” beamed another man, which met with more than a few nodding heads and audible affirmations from men across the audience.Then, as if to bluntly counter this affirmation with the deftness of a sledgehammer, another man snarled out this conversation stopper…“NOWHERE!  My dad ditched me!”And though...

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 (NIV)>DING-DONG<<Ugh!Who could be ringing the doorbell at 10am in the morning? But, before I had a chance to think about it any further, another chime blared out:>>DING-DONG!<<Rarely have I experienced house visitors ringing the doorbell a second time so quickly. Must be a kid. Now what kid would be out of school at this time of the…?>>DING-DONG!!<<Again?! What in the world is going on?! Why would people ring the doorbell so…?>>DING-DONG!!!<<OK, this is getting obnoxious! Who does that?! So agitated was I that I shut my upstairs office door, content to let my bride handle this supposed intruder at the door.Wow, Travis, lots of courage there….Much of the time, I travel to minister, but this morning, God literally brought ministry right to my door.And I was...

No matter how bad things appear to be, suicide is never a good option. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)Don’t do it.Please!Just don’t do it.No matter how bad things appear to be, suicide is never a good option.Meet “Simon”In the fading moments of a recent men’s retreat, a man named “Simon” (not his real name), approached me, anxious to talk.  His darting eyes gave him away, but his shaking hands betrayed his fragile state as well.  Desperation drenched his words as he revealed his recent unemployment, his wife’s fear of losing their house, and his own plummeting self-esteem.“I just never thought I’d be here, Travis,” Simon lamented.  “Sure, there were signs that things at work weren’t going very well.  So my boss eventually took me into a room, and basically forced...

Trials come in many forms, but God asks us to trust Him through them all.Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you are involved in various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3 (ISV)Have you “heard” from God lately?Men frequently ask me this question or the various versions of it (i.e., “How can I “hear” from God?), and my answer is always the same: I “hear” from God most often when I’m reading the Bible, God’s Word.  It’s a sure-fire way to better understand His love, mercy, and forgiveness, and, of course, His rescue plan.  That’s one reason why it’s so important to be in His Word daily.Aside from Bible reading, I also frequently hear from the Holy Spirit in my prayers.  It’s not an audible voice, per se, but a thought or an idea that certainly didn’t originate from my linear, often-twisted...

This month’s update highlights a passage from our book, A Faithful Dad’s Guide to Legacy © 2016 by Travis L. Zimmerman, available on Amazon.com.What is a dad?…the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart.  1 Samuel 13:14 (NLT)In my view, being a dad is God’s highest privilege to men.  Being a dad encompasses so much of what God has created us to be.  In fact, the prerequisite for being a faithful dad is first of all being a man of God.Becoming a man of God isn’t necessarily a rite of passage, though there is certainly a degree of ceremony in it.  I clearly remember turning 18 and my dad warning me that now I could both vote and die for my country.  Yikes!  No, simply turning a year older doesn’t make me a man of God.  A man of God is someone who follows after God on...

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 backstoryOf 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 ...