Study the Book of Ephesians
Please join CMOW as we read and meditate over the book Ephesians!
For a brief time at the end of his second missionary journey, and then for more than two years on his third missionary journey, Paul ministered to the church at Ephesus (Acts 18:18–21; 19:1–41). During his time in this city that housed the famous temple to the Greek goddess Artemis, Paul saw many converted to faith in Jesus Christ and many others who opposed his preaching in the synagogues and homes. One prominent silversmith, Demetrius, who made implements for the worship of Artemis, found his business suffering greatly because people were converting to Christianity. The ensuing near-riot led Paul to leave the city, but only after the apostle had done much to stabilize and grow the Christian community there.
Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians sometime in AD 60–61, around the same time he wrote Colossians and Philemon, as he sent all three letters by the hand of Tychicus, accompanied by Onesimus (Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7–9; Philemon 1:10–12). It was during this time that Paul sat in Rome undergoing his first Roman imprisonment (Ephesians 3:1; 4:1), making Ephesians one of the four epistles commonly known as the Prison Epistles. The others are Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.
Second Corinthians and Galatians abound with personal touches from Paul, either about his own life or that of the recipients. Ephesians, on the other hand, stands at the opposite end of the spectrum as one of Paul’s most formal letters. While Galatians offers instructions particularly important for those churches overrun with legalism, Ephesians deals with topics at the very core of what it means to be a Christian—both in faith and in practice—regardless of any particular problem in the community.
Paul divided his letter to the Ephesians into two clear segments; applying the truths of the first makes possible the actions and lifestyle of the second. Paul spent the first three chapters of the letter discussing God’s creation of a holy community by His gift of grace in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The members of this community have been chosen by God through the work of Christ, adopted as sons and daughters of God, and brought near to the Father through faith in His Son. All people with this faith—Jews and Gentiles alike—were dead in their transgressions and sins but have been made alive because of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
After the Big Sandy ATI conference in the spring of 2013, Dwain and I discussed the “take away’s” (what was it that the Lord was asking us to address in our lives after what we had heard) The Lord began working on my heart to get into his word on a daily basis. It was an area of my life that I had always struggled staying consistent. At the same time my good friend Dwain had the desire to reach out to one man in every state, across the country, and encourage them in their walk with the Lord. As we talked about these new found goals we determined that maybe God was encouraging us to combine both of these goals and work on them together.
Dwain and I began talking each day over the phone and encouraging each other (sort of a positive accountability). We discussed the difference it made when we were consistently in the word. We determined that we needed a system in place that would encourage everyone in the group to engage. We knew that our first few weeks reading the Word things weren’t to hard, but as we stuck with it, it seemed to be easy to disengage and “fall off the wagon”. After hashing out some details we came up with a program we thought that would help any brother stay focused in his walk.
The things that we felt were crucial for any Christian we included in a list and made those part of a point system to record goals achieved. We weren’t setting out to prove who was the most spiritual, but just a way to encourage each guy to focus on the basics of the Christian life. A way to maintain a solid foundation that we could build off of.
We felt it was key to focus on seven areas
1. Reading the Bible
2. Answer questions related to Bible reading
3. Memorize scripture
4. Reach out to, and encourage, other men in the Group, positive encouragement and accountability
5. Witness, share the Gospel
6. Encourage others to join with us in the group (the more men that were at least reading the Bible the better.)
7. Discipleship of other brothers in the Lord
Each of these areas are “the basics” the minimum standard every Christian should be doing consistently. But we knew that if we were struggling to do “the basics” chances are other men had the same issue. That’s how Courageous Men of the Word was born.
Both of us work a full time job but we kind of knew that we could have a ministry just by using the time that we were wasting each day, taking the mundane and making it meaningful.
In the beginning we were just keeping one another accountable by a daily text with the scripture reading for the day, as things progressed we began to add guys to a list and sending texts to them as well. It was near the beginning that I would share an MP3 audio commentary with the men, just a word about something that spoke to me from the reading that day.
ABOUT THE FOUNDERS
I came to know The Lord at the age of 16 in a small country baptist church in Central Georgia. I remember as a child I would walk to church by myself from the age of 6 to 16 and meet my grandmother. We were always the first to get to church. After high school and college at the University of GA, I recommitted my life to Christ the year Lana and I were married but I didn’t have a complete heart change until I was 28. It was then that I finally took hold of God’s word and started applying it in my life! One of my greatest struggles was that up to that point in my life I wasn’t leading my family spiritually. It was then when God spoke to my heart that I knew I needed to change and couldn’t go on being a sideline father! I knew I need to be all in for my wife and family! Since then it has been so many brothers along the way that have helped me grow in my faith and stay accountable and become the spiritual leader of my family.
My wife, Lana, and I have been blessed to have 9 wonderful children!! We love teaching our children about life and the ways of the Lord!! We also loving serving together and spending time on the road visiting with other families.
In my work I am Self employed and serve as president of Central GA Lawn & Design, LLC a landscape, maintenance, and irrigation company and president of Swanson Construction where I serve as a general contractor for new construction and remodels. I love all aspects of business Ownership and love encouraging others to have there on business as well as encourage other men in the Lord!
My Prayer Request is That I would finish strong in my life as a husband, father, business owner, and a servant of the most High! I want not only to run in the race but finish it with boldness, courage, and love and be the example for my children and those that I come in contact with. It has become so clear to me that if we lose our family along the way we are incredibly poor examples and we need to be mighty men of God and finish Strong!!
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~Hebrews 12:1-2
Recently I was encouraged by Dwain and some of my brothers in our group after a man camp to step out in faith and move 450 miles away from home to do the job of my dreams. So I prayed about it and felt the Lords hand of direction on our family. I now work on airplanes installing avionics removing old instruments and updating the airplane with the latest equipment. Previously during the day I worked at a drainage pipe manufacturing company, working in the machine shop. I programmed and ran a CNC milling machine making specialty parts for the equipment used in the manufacturing of corrugated plastic pipe.
I grew up on a small farm in south western Ohio about 40 miles outside Cincinnati. We raised animals and crops.
My parents were new Christians coming to know the Lord while in high school. When I was young my mother was my Sunday school teacher and one Sunday in the summer at the age of 6 years old, because of a message she taught from the Bible, I realized that I was a sinner headed for Hell, I repented of my sin and was saved. Later on in my high school years after a missionary came and spoke at our church and I felt like the Lord was leading to study and go to the mission field. So I went to a Christian college and studied Missionary Aviation. I received my mechanics and pilots licenses. After school things didn’t happen the way you would expect and because of some life changing events I didn’t go to the mission field. It took me awhile to realize that God plans are better than any of my plans. He allowed the circumstances in my life to mould me and shape me into an instrument to be used for his service.
I’m thankful to the Lord for a loving wife (Angela) and four children he has blessed me with. Luke, Jacob, Evan, and Emily. One of my favorite verses tells of God’s power.
Jeremiah 32:27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
You might say the answer to this verse is found in Matthew 19:26 (another favorite verse), but Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
I love the hope these verses give us in the seemingly impossible situations of our life.