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It has been quite a while since the men have gathered together and they are looking forward to this time of fellowship.

Part of the time will be spent discussing a chapter from the book, “How God Makes a Man”, which was introduced during the last meeting.  See below for that section of the book.Additional topics for discussion will be:•    An update since our last meeting•    A presentation by brother Tony Harris•    Service Opportunities within our church •    Service opportunities at one of our community schools•    Mentoring for our youth.•    Hosting a conference for men or a presentation by Brother Jesse Ross.Sincerely,Rev William Pierce, Deacon Clyde Brotherson, and Brother Kevin Middlebrook

Chapter 1
James and Brandy both went into their marriage fully intending to build their life together on the rock of
Christ. James, who attends the Bible study I teach, told me, “And so it went … at first.”
After five carefree years without kids, they started a family with two wonderful children, anticipating
that life would only get happier. But in reality the demands of work and the stress of raising children
began to take a toll on their marriage. They lost that important feeling of being close to your soul mate.
That made it easier to dwell on each other’s faults, and so they slowly drifted apart. At the fourteen-year
mark, weakened by self-pity over his unhappiness at home, James fell into the arms of another woman.
When confronted by friends over his adultery, he said, “I felt like I was being torn in two.” With the help
of their church community, James and Brandy reconciled and started over. But this transgression, along
with the unresolved issues each had brought into their marriage, kept eating away at them. For his part,
James was quick to anger and wore his feelings on his sleeve. Brandy, in contrast, buried her feelings
because she thought that was the Christian thing to do. When the children hit their teens, James and
Brandy decided to get counseling to help them become better parents. But those conversations opened
a can of worms. His affair came back to center stage. Their arguments became more and more frequent.
Brandy, particularly, seemed annoyed at every little thing James did.
One day James said to her, “Brandy, if these things bother you so much, then why don’t you ask me to
leave?” So she did.
After a few days of living alone, James realized what a horrible mistake he had made. His repeated pleas
for reconciliation fell on deaf ears. Brandy was boiling with a volcanic anger, and she wanted nothing to
do with him. In the months that followed, he found e-mails that revealed his wife was getting
emotionally attached to an old flame. That attachment eventually led to an affair.
James still believed God wanted them to reconcile and stay married. But after everything that had gone
on, he was thinking, You’ve got to be kidding me. How could that possibly happen now? Brandy clearly
despised him, and she had opened her heart to the other man. There appeared to be no way his
marriage could recover.
He started losing weight and couldn’t sleep. He routinely woke up at around 3:00 a.m. and pleaded with
God to save his marriage.
One morning God whispered to his heart, “James, I have you. But you need to give Brandy to Me.”
James wasn’t sure what that meant. He said, “How can I give her up when what I really need to do is win
her back?”
Meanwhile, Brandy continued moving away from James. She began bringing up the topic of divorce in
their infrequent communications, though James resisted it every time. He wanted to find some way to
get Brandy back, but he didn’t know how to begin.
One day James yelled at the top of his lungs, “God, I don’t think I can hold out any longer!” When he was
done venting, he heard God whisper, “Are you finished?” Then, “Wait.”
One day, after a couple of years of separation, Brandy sent James a text: “Happy Father’s Day.” For an
hour James sobbed uncontrollably and cried out to God to bring his marriage back from the dead. Later
that day, when James picked up his daughter for dinner, Brandy asked if she could join them. They had a
wonderful evening talking and laughing.
The two started dating again. Each saw changes in the other. Then they went to counseling together and
began learning how to open up and express honest feelings without letting their emotions become
destructive. They sought and received forgiveness from each other.
After two years of prayer and pain and waiting on God, James and Brandy got back together. And here’s
what I don’t want you to miss: in his darkest times, James did not see how God could possibly bring to
pass what he hoped for—the restoration of his marriage.
But he did his best to keep trusting God during the wait. And in His time, God did what seemed
impossible. But God didn’t bring about this dramatic turnaround overnight. It was a process—a process
that took time. “Bible Time,” actually, as you’ll soon see. God’s goal in this process was to release
unwavering faith in Him.
To that end, He is going to take each of us through a similar process of transformation, though your
personal issues will most likely be very different from what James went through. God graciously “forces”
our faith to grow by creating or permitting situations that require us to find reserves of faith we don’t
even know we have. And through that process, we become stronger, wiser men. We become men of
faith. Men who are increasingly conformed to the image of Christ. How does it happen? By the process
described in the first of the ten principles we’ll be looking at together in How God Makes Men:
God makes men by showing us how we can believe Him anyway in the face of what seem like
impossible circumstances.
What is God calling you to trust Him for that makes you say, “Are You kidding me, God? How could that
possibly happen?”
Whatever it is, you’re not alone. There is no Christian alive who always has faith and never doubts. Run
from anyone who tells you differently. It’s normal to have doubts. But by the end of this chapter, you
will see how God wants to forge us into men who can believe Him anyway, even when we’ve really
messed up. Even when our circumstances seem impossible. So let’s get to it. If you think James messed
up—if you think you’ve messed up—consider this guy.
While writing this chapter, I spent many hours with a man who once encouraged his wife to sleep with
another man so he could get ahead. He also fathered a child with his housekeeper and later cut them
both off financially. Once, when he was surrounded by thugs who had their eyes on his pretty wife, he
pretended to be single to avoid getting roughed up. What kind of man would do those things? Would
you be surprised to learn I’m talking about Abraham, the father of our faith (see Romans 4:16)? As I
implied in the preface, none of the ten men we’ll be looking at in this book were perfect. Not even close.
These men were flawed—like us. They learned and grew over time—like us. That’s what makes their
stories so perfect for us to study. Bit by bit, God made them more nearly into the men He wanted them
to be—just like He does with us. Let’s face it. If God didn’t work with flawed men, He wouldn’t have any
to work with at all. So why, precisely, did the Holy Spirit include the story of Abraham in the Bible? I can
tell you one reason why. Abraham faced three different tests that, by degrees, you and I will also face—
if we haven’t already. Let’s take them one at a time

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