December 2018

Conception Abbey, Conception, MO


Reflecting upon my life, particularly this past year, I was impacted by the ways Jesus made all the difference. I challenge you now to do the same thing, knowing that the reason you’ve received this letter is because you are important to me.


Privileged to be raised by godly parents, I grew up knowing about Jesus, but I’ve     only encountered Him in an intimate, very personal, and humbling way in the last several years. Why did it take so long? What did I do to have this happen in my life?  I learned  that He simply wants us to pay more undivided attention to Him.


As I write this year-end letter, I do so from one of my favorite places in the world— the Saint Gabriel guest house at Conception Abbey. I started coming here close to fifteen years ago for quiet time, to do my quarterly business planning alone. Today this quarterly spiritual retreat invoked thoughts of what Heaven may be like. Removing myself from the noise of the world and pursuing endless meaningless details, I can just imagine being quiet before Him, totally peaceful, knowing I’m right where I need to be. He’s in control and He is with me whatever my circumstances. Jesus is my game changer.


        Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs us to: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” But what does that really look like?


What does it look like to pay undivided attention to Jesus? I always start each day in the quiet and darkness on my knees in prayer, honoring and asking Him to help me become the man He created me to be with those He will put in my path today. I thank   Him for the night’s rest and the relationships with men whom He has called and will call me to serve. I ask Him to give me His heart—one of compassion and understanding and the ability to ask good thoughtful, open-ended questions that will show I truly care, but that also challenges them to go deeper with God in their own lives. I’m equipped to do that by first spending time in the Scriptures—reading, meditating, and memorizing them.


Are you waiting for a game changer in your life? Is God calling you to change something in your life? Broken relationships in need of repair? Are there situations or circumstances that you’re not happy about and no amount of money or possessions will fix them? Jesus can become your game changer, too.


Two of my good brothers accompanied me here on this trip to the abbey. We all  need other men in our life. Men have unique problems and men need help learning how to trust another man—not judge them. Do you have a man like that in your life? What would you do to have a close brother who is like-minded, loves Jesus, and won’t judge  you but will encourage you on your journey?


I’ve discovered all I need to do is ask the Holy Spirit to help me be sensitive to other men around that are men of F-A-I-T-H. They are Faithful to do what they commit to do. They make themselves Available to connect with you and they are faithful to stay available on a regular basis. They are Intentional to do what they say they will do like  show up prepared on a regular basis to discuss life and the issues we both bring to the table. The value of one man doing life with another man is a priceless gift. These men become vulnerable with each other because they spend time with one another and they like and trust each other. They have a heart like God for one another and that pleases   our Creator. As a result, they are Teachable (or coachable) and know that they don’t  know it all. They are Humble men and they desire to continue growing and learning   about Jesus the game changer.


Ask God to connect you with a man of faith, and if you already have one in your  life, another one for 2019 with whom you can experience life and walk together. Always examine your walk with him/them. What’s the outcome and is it fruitful? John 15:1-17


As I leave the abbey today and head home to the noise and pull of this world, I’ll be considering what I can do to grow in my peace and relationship with Jesus in 2019. I  know it takes focus and trusting God for His will to direct me for today and the days ahead. He wants me to make plans but to hold them loosely, to value relationships over tasks. How can I and my team members leverage our time, talents, and treasures together for Jesus, the game changer? To which things do I need to say “no”?


You’ve probably identified with one or more of my thoughts and questions, so what are the next steps? Here are three suggestions.

1) Spend  time with Jesus first each day and give Him your BEST time and attention. Over time, the more you give Him the more you will experience love growing in your heart for Him and others, even those you didn’t think you could ever care about.


2)   Jesus’ last words to His disciples were go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). So find another brother in Christ that is a true man of F-A-I-T-H and share life with him. Together, be intentional about making other disciple makers.


3)   Don’t go it alone in 2019. Stay focused on how you leverage your gifts for greater kingdom impact. Who is on your team? Find like-minded men God has put in your path and intended you to be with. It will vastly enrich your life each day because you’ve found  a purpose bigger than self and one that has an eternal focus. I know I’ve seen it in my life and the life of the men I work with every day.


Lastly, how can I pray for you? How can I help you with what God might be calling you to do next?  What’s your next move? Call, email, or text me so we can connect to help you  to gain clarity now for your right next move. Our Creator wants us all to make a    difference for His kingdom here on earth now and for eternity.


Blessings to you and your family this Christmas!

Gary cursive signature

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! ~ Phil 4:4


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