On July 18, 2016 I (Perry) was driving home from center city Columbia on I-26 when I started to have severe pains radiating across my chest and down my back. The pain grew so intense and my breathing became so shallow that I drove straight to the emergency room at Park Ridge hospital to head off a certain heart attack. I was immediately given a battery of tests that revealed that my heart was fine… but, I had shingles! A Shingles is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus in one of the nerve trunks of the body causing a blistering rash and extreme pain often lasting for months. Janet, of course, was relieved that I did not have a heart attack. When I pridefully mentioned that shingles was probably the most pain a body could ever experience, she rolled her eyes and muttered something about childbirth and me not having a clue. Needless to say, I am now the world’s most animated advocate for Shingrix, the newest shingle shot. I warn everyone I meet, challenge anyone who will listen, beg every person I can to “GET THE NEW SHINGLES SHOT!” I proclaim its success in my life, admonish others to act immediately and teach everything I know about this vaccine because I know the ‘hell’ one faces without it. In fact, everyone I know who has had shingles says the same thing…. “GET THE NEW SHINGLES SHOT!” Last week my pastor, Keith Kneeshaw, challenged me with this thought, “Perry, what if you were as committed to proclaiming the love of God through Jesus at the cross as you are in telling folks about the new shingles shot?” Would you continue to pray for us here in Focused Living that the Lord would give us boldness in telling any man who will listen about the grace of God in Christ and warning them about the hell of eternity apart from the Father’s love? We are planning a variety of ‘Wired’ outreaches to help men get ‘connected’ to God through the Cross. By the way…have I mentioned…did you get the new shingles shot?
“Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” Col 1:27-29
We are currently in our summer Fueled series and men are responding with much enthusiasm as they dig into the Scriptures and learn more of Christ through the book, “Gospel” by JD Greear. Pray for the Focused Living staff as they prepare for the series this fall entitled “Built2Bless” through the book of Colossians. We will be looking at all the ways the Lord is building His men to be a blessing to others (marriage, children, church, work, friends). Pray especially that men would come to Christ, be built up in discipleship and grow to become their family’s and community’s greatest blessing. Please pray for God to raise up many younger men for each of the men’s forums.