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Intersection of Life and Faith

The Struggle to be a Christian Man

  • 2001 25 Jul
The Struggle to be a Christian Man
Larry Kreider knows the difficulties of being a man in today’s world. As president of The Gathering/USA Inc., day in and day out Larry hears the struggles firsthand. The organization (www.thegathering.org) ministers to businessmen and helps them build relationships with Christ. When approaching men, four key areas stand out for discussion: Yielding Control, Maintaining Balance, Handling Thought Life and Accounting for Money.

Yielding Control: One of Larry’s friends, Peter Fox came to Orlando with a goal—completing an Arnold Palmer golf course community in a wealthy section of town called Isleworth. Since his dad was the president of the Minnesota Twins for 46 years, Peter had grown up with a passion for sports and building things from scratch. As a child, he broke down a television set and tried to rebuild it. Building and developing projects was in Peter’s blood.

When the Isleworth course was on the way to completion, Bill Dupont and his partners recruited Peter to develop new real estate projects. His responsibilities were to concentrate on new acquisitions such as a large downtown office tower, an apartment project and a cargo facility at Orlando International Airport. But before signing on with Dupont, Peter failed to investigate the financial health of the older real estate projects. Unfortunately, they were in deep trouble.

There wasn’t enough financial muscle behind the profitable projects to keep everything afloat. Within 1 1/2 years, three of the major Dupont projects were in foreclosure. Since he was a loyal friend, Peter went to work for Bill Dupont personally and worked tirelessly to solve Dupont’s real estate dilemmas.

When the financial crisis was nearly over, Peter faced some tough questions. “Was this what he wanted to do for the rest of his life?” Then he admitted that through 20 years of real estate development, he never once asked the Lord what He thought about it. The projects of the past had taught Peter that he wasn’t in control.

Peter decided to join a small men’s group study that I was leading. He began to personally search the Scriptures. “I wanted to get to know Jesus,” Peter said, “and in so doing, I found I didn’t know me.”

Through his study, Peter determined that future deals should be joint ventures with the Lord. He asked his closest friends for advice about his next step. As Peter turned the reigns of his life over to God, he decided that real estate was only an example of how he could use his gifts to develop things from scratch.

Today, Peter Fox is a man on a mission. With his new partner, Clint Beatty, Peter has created several new companies. The Capital Management Corp. owns cargo storage facilities at the airport and the latest venture, Capital Cargo Corp., is an air cargo freight service transporting perishable goods between Orlando and Latin America. Peter needed to give up his attempt to control life and hand it over to God.

“To yield control is a daily process of following two principles,” Larry Kreider says. “We need to trust that God will take care of your day to day life. At the same time, we need to make every effort to solve the problem and not give up.”

Maintaining Balance: Like a juggler trying to balance 16 balls, many men fail to keep them in the air, according to Kreider. “When we balance four or five activities, we get a rhythm going,” he said. Men struggle to find balance between home and work. Kreider’s way around this dilemma is to plan family time into his schedule.

“When I want to take my daughter, Erica to a movie, I write it on my calendar several days in advance,” Larry said. “Or if Susan and I are going away for a special weekend, we plan it several months in advance.” Most men use a daily calendar to schedule their work activities. Kreider uses it to maintain balance in his schedule.

Periodically, Kreider looks at past weeks and considers balance. “Sometimes a key need is missing on my calendar,” Larry says. “For example, I need time for reading and if it’s missing, then I schedule an evening for reading.” Balance between the priorities of life is a critical ingredient for men today, according to Kreider.

Handling Thought Life: Beyond making a commitment to avoid sexual temptation, Kreider recommends a back-up security plan. Recently one of his friends called Kreider with a problem. “I’ve got this business meeting coming up with a woman and we go way back,” he explained. “I don’t want it to get out of hand. Will you call me in 24 hours to check and see how it went?”

Larry promised to call his friend. “Such accountability is a great governor on your behavior!” Kreider said with a chuckle. His friend didn’t have any problem with the business meeting. Accountability and openness with other men or just one other man is a means to handle the sirens of sexual temptation, according to Kreider. In today’s world, it’s a reality that all men need to face and seek help.

Accounting for Money: Almost everyone is trying to stretch more dollars out of their day. One of the best programs that Kreider has discovered is from Crown Ministries. A national organization, Crown Ministries is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia (www.crownatlanta.org). Larry has led small group Bible study sessions for Crown. Limited to four couples, the Bible study on finances lasts 12 weeks. Homework includes practical matters such as creating a budget and writing a will. Memorizing Scripture is also a priority. “If someone doesn’t complete the assignment, then they can’t participate in the discussion,” Kreider said. The accountability is an excellent tool for learning about money--a major concern for men in today’s world.

In today’s world, the priorities for men are diverse. These practical situations are critical.

W. Terry Whalin is a feature writer for Christianity.com. He has written for more than 50 publications and published more than 50 books including Prayers For My Son and Prayers For My Daughter.