Dear NCS Brudders,
“…And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all that he did to
flourish and succeed in his hand.” (Gen 39:3)
I’ve been thinking about the word flourish and how it ties into the relational network we are building at NCS. What does a flourishing relational network look like? While I don’t have all the answers, I want to share what I’ve observed over the past few weeks at and in between our regular gatherings.
Our Friday speakers rotate between friends from our relational network and local guys who step forward to share their story. We just enjoyed a mix of that when Chris Halverson of Washington, DC, and Dustin Hedrick of Statesville spoke at the Lodge followed up by Laird Gardner of Winston-Salem. We broke bread over a dinner with Chris – further investment in the relationship – and gained a powerful understanding of how the early followers of Jesus traveled to various cites to dine, fellowship and encourage one another. Recently, Mike Baughan, Ron Pegram and Logan Philon organized a visit with two administrators from the University of Southern California. They shared an amazingly successful program helping middle school children in poverty-stricken neighborhoods gain high school diplomas and access to college. This inspired us to leverage our relational network, through our weekly gatherings and a dinner meeting, to brainstorm how we might model a similar program in our area to achieve social and economic mobility.
Kalim Andraos took a small team of our NCS men (Harvey Freeman and Ralf Walters) plus the son of our Austrian friend, Manfred Frieser, on a trip to Cambridge, Antioch and Beirut. While on their journey, they were invited to participate in two speaking engagements in Cambridge, a result of our relationship with Andrzej Turkank from Salzburg. They also hosted a banquet for Muslim women and children in Antioch - something which the locals say has never been done in Antioch before.
During my trip to Tokyo and Hong Kong, I got to mix some business with Kingdom matters. In Tokyo, we prayed for the city and visited a dynamic church packed with young people in the heart of Roppongi. In Hong Kong, we visited Mike Baughan's brother and found additional opportunities to pray for Hong Kong and the region.
Finally, we received a visit this past week from Pete Greig, founder of 24-7 Prayer and author of Red Moon Rising, God on Mute and Dirty Glory. He was the keynote speaker at our Citywide Prayer Breakfast two years ago, and we made such an impression on him that he decided to return. Stu and Nancy Epperson were kind enough to open their home for an amazing lunch and time of prayer. So what did I learn from these observations? Through meetings, visits and travel, we’ve been given a blessing in a relational network of Believers, firmly rooted across our city and increasingly spanning the globe. God’s hand and presence with us has made NCS flourish – and our relational network has experienced great success in spreading God’s word!
I encourage you all to keep showing up. Connect with other men. Work on your relationship with Jesus. The opportunities put in our paths to change hearts and impact lives are amazing. We have an expanding relational network anchored by a relationship with Jesus which opens many doors. Let’s continue to be in fellowship with one another, build relationships and move out both locally and abroad on mission. I promise you – God will make it flourish.