10 episodes

Discipleship for busy blokes

Elim MPower Elim MPower

    • Christianity

Discipleship for busy blokes

    Episode 10

    Episode 10

    In a special extended episode of ‘Discipleship For Busy Blokes’ we are in conversation with Danny Easton, one of the elders at Birmingham City Church.

    After initially starting out in an apprenticeship in tool-making and then moving into Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Danny is now a car-seat designer for a company with automotive clients including Jaguar-Landrover and Nissan.

    Danny describes a ‘step out of the boat’ season in his career when he had to deliver results for a new client rather quickly, and where he felt right out of his comfort zone.  He spent a couple of weeks convinced he would get “found out” and stood down – but instead much to his surprise he was congratulated for the work he was producing.

    Danny credits God with seeing him through, in response to some urgent prayer – and recommends we all seek help from God in prayer during pressure times; and that we should take our main cue in our workplaces from God, and not from what is going on around or above us.

    Danny also shares about a very challenging time in his life when he got seriously injured in a motorbike accident on his way to a men’s weekend with church.  He came off the bike and went a long way into a field, sustaining a broken collarbone, ribs, fibula, damage to his foot and also some bleeding on the brain, as a result of the impact which cracked the bike helmet.

    Danny got flown into hospital in Coventry by air ambulance, and recalls coming round and first just seeing the ceiling and the lights, and then his family and pastor at his bedside.  At first he was asking the same questions over and over again as a result of amnesia, but gradually things began to piece together.  He is convinced that as a result of a whole lot of prayer from family, relatives, friends and churches all around the world (America, Philippines, Australia, Africa, Italy), the bleeds on his brain were not as severe as the neurosurgeon and his team at first feared they might be.

    The medical team were amazed at the speed of his recovery while he was in hospital, so much so that he was discharged on the Sunday evening, 48 hours after the accident had occurred.  Danny reports that shortly afterwards he also visited the pound where the bike was stored, and the owner of the pound was amazed to see Danny on his crutches, given the extensive damage to the bike, which was a write-off.

    After he got home from hospital, Danny was off convalescing for three months and found himself having to confront his own vulnerability, and his confidence took a real knock.  During this time off, however, he started to appreciate how much it really is God in charge in our lives – and the period of time after the accident became for him another form of having to "step out of the boat", in trusting God for restored confidence and full recovery.

    Danny also describes a time when he kept on asking God what His plan for his life might be, especially during his daily commute on the M6 upon his return to work after the accident.  After about 3 weeks of asking, he was really surprised to hear God say: “I’m not going to tell you!”  When he asked God why that was the answer, he felt God say: “Because you’ll try and do it in your own strength and you’ll mess it up!”  The next day God then said: “I want you to be in the place where you hear my voice and do what I tell you to do.”  Danny says that he also suddenly realised that he was already walking in the middle of God’s plan for his life already, and that God was not far off as he had supposed.

    He closes in prayer for all the guys listening in.


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    • 43 min
    Episode 9

    Episode 9

    In this episode we are in conversation with Mark Lyndon-Jones, leader of ministry to men across the Elim movement in the UK.

    We open with a review of Mark’s written devotion from Philippians 3:13-14, that he brought to set the tone for men across Elim in 2020 at the beginning of the year.  We reflect on the great athletic achievement from Eliud Kipchoge, who became the first athlete to run a marathon distance in under two hours, beating the mark by just 20 seconds.

    Mark encourages us as men to remember that if Paul is able to bring us such inspirational words, to strain towards what is ahead and forget what is behind, both from a prison context and also from a history of being against Christianity, then we too must not dwell on our past failures or the limitations of our current situation.

    Equally we are also to avoid being comfortable solely with historic victories.  We must keep pressing ahead, to the new mission and ministry Jesus always has lying ahead for us.

    Mark summarises it well with this: “You can’t start a new chapter in your life if you keep re-reading the last one.”  He says a great way to unblock and free us up from spiritual inertia is to take Paul’s advice and do ‘one thing’ i.e. crack on and get at least something done.  Ask a friend, ask a leader and ask the Lord for the ‘one thing’ we should be doing next.

    The clues as to what that might be can lie in either what we are frequently wound up about; or conversely whatt  we are delighted by.  There are dramatic parallels between Paul’s exhortation to strain ahead and Lot’s wife looking back, and so we need to lean into what the Lord has for us in the future.

    Gents – be encouraged, keep pressing into Jesus, and take hold of what He has for you!

    We also talk about the MPower plans for hosting at least 200 instances of the #mpowerbigbreakfast around the nation this September, in partnership with Reach, Elim’s evangelism team.  We are aiming for a couple of thousands guys to join these breakfasts, and for a couple of hundred men to start following Jesus.  You can sign up for a pack to host a breakfast at https://mailchi.mp/m/mpowerbigbreakfast

    We discuss MPower’s ‘Fuel for the Week’ weekly devotional email, and the growth of the'Discipleship for Busy Blokes' podcast since we launched last October.

    We round things up with some great banter from the ‘spin the wheel’ game – Mark tells us his hero, shares some ‘know how’ on getting men to connect better and also a tremendous life-hack around, would you believe it, tiling in the bathroom!

    Mark closes with an encouraging prayer for us all as guys.


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    • 23 min
    Episode 8

    Episode 8

    We are in conversation with Dammy Awosika, one of the elders at Birmingham City Church.

    Dammy is a network solutions architect designer, and he explains how he built his career in IT starting out from building PCs to working with servers and systems – and how he ultimately got into networking, which he has been doing over the last 20 years.

    On this podcast we unpack the ‘Parable of the Good Samaritan’:

    The surprise it holds of who is supposed to be helping but doesn’t
    Who our neighbour really might be; and
    How we should help people in dire need, no matter what their or our beliefs are.

    We need to take action when a deep need confronts us – not just hold views.

    People sometimes get into difficulties in ways they could have avoided – but equally people can get into need through no fault of their own. Dammy described a time when a ‘good Samaritan’ passing by on a motorbike stopped to help him out on his journey to work one day when his car broke down.

    Dammy identifies some helpful boundaries regarding the way in which we should offer people help. There are some things we ourselves should do; but also other things where we should make a ‘wisdom call’ to get others involved, where perhaps we have reached the limit of the help we can provide.

    The priest and the Levite seem to apply personal boundaries that are just too strict around their willingness to offer any help at all to someone in need.

    In telling the parable, Jesus is setting out his expectation that everyone should offer others help, and not just walk by. Jesus Christ died for each and every person, and therefore everyone should in turn show kindness toward others.

    In many ways it’s a simple message behind the parable: help others!

    The innkeeper seems happy with the promise of finance offered by the Good Samaritan if the stay is extended – so much so, that it raises the question of whether he knew the Good Samaritan already. If he didn’t, perhaps the innkeeper was inspired by the kindness of the Samaritan to be trusting towards him.

    Dammy shares a great story of how just listening properly in the workplace opened up a professional colleague formerly viewed by others as difficult to get along with – so much so, that a great friendship started. Everyone needs to be heard properly from time to time; and we shouldn’t just accept the received wisdom from a group or tribe about another person or tribe – we should try to look behind the reputation for the real person.

    Dammy closes by sharing about his recent driving holiday around 9 states in America, and how he experienced warmth and love from God as Father on the trip, and he prays for the men listening.


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    • 27 min
    Episode 7

    Episode 7

    We are in conversation with Chris Fletcher, lead pastor of Manna Church, Fayetteville Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

    Manna Church is right next to the largest military base in the world, offering around 15 services a weekend and has an ambitious vision to plant Manna churches in every U.S. military base across the globe.

    Chris has a Masters in Christian Leadership, a big vision to equip people and plant churches and focuses 100% of his time on leadership development day-to-day.  

    He describes how Manna church has had to become highly competent at both leadership development and outreach, in response to the high throughput of military personnel in response to the continual redeployments from the base.

    He offers some great and perhaps surprising advice for men who'd like to increase their leadership influence: that we need to start in the place of our own personal trustworthiness.

    Leadership change is firstly ontologocial i.e. focused on the shaping our own being before God - who we are and what God is shaping us to be.  Secondly influential leadership is mimetic i.e. we are called to imitate Jesus.  We are to take our lives and allow the Father to shape us, and we then pour that out on behalf of others.

    Ontological is saying that the first person I start with in leadership is me, surrendering everything to God.  Mimetic is saying that everything we do copies Jesus.

    Chris explains that trustworthiness results in promotion: if you're a man that is trustworthy, you'll be hired no matter what path you follow in life.

    We also unpack why it is that the centurions come across well in the New Testament: the military lifestyle seems to imprint on people that they exist for a higher mission and a purpose, which can lead well into a life of faith following Jesus.  People who join the U.S. army find that it is not about them as the individual - it's about the team, the mission, the country and the greater good.  In other words: "If I don't do my job as a trusted team member, I can place the team, the unit and the higher cause above me at risk."

    This also plays out in personal evangelism - if not you, who? If not now, when?

    Chris talks about how it can be challenging at Manna Church to bring the Father heart side of Christian faith into a military environment with a bias to a command and control structure where people are under authority.  So they focus on the value of a person to God being the price of the life given up by Jesus - and that they are loved by God.

    What also makes the centurion whom Jesus picked out as having such great faith is his care for his servant, who was subordinate to him.  Tis has a powerful outworking in marriage: as men it is our job to lay down our lives for our wives, just as Christ laid down his life for the church.

    A side- effect of a disciplined military life can be a see-saw effect, so that people switch into an 'anything goes' mentality when off duty.  Personal devotions, a Life Group and accountability all help men tackle this.  Chris also recommends that men should find a healthy hobby or outlet.

    Chris is a huge Manchester United fan, through his NBC Sports Gold subscription over in the States, and also coaches youth football for the Villarreal Academy.  Chris has an all-wheel Subaru Outback which he loves driving, and he confesses to making the MK Dons on his Fifa game European champions in his spare time.


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    • 30 min
    Episode 6

    Episode 6

    We are in conversation with Gavin Calver, CEO of the Evangelical Alliance in the UK.

    The Evangelical Alliance seeks to represent evangelical Christians in the UK, to bring Christians together and help them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society.

    Gavin's infectious energy, vision and passion for Jesus and life is inspirational.

    We talk about how men can be less passive and take more of an activist role in their faith.  Football fans just start a song, which is not passive at all - whereas church can sometimes be a bit polished, and men feel they have to 'receive'.

    As a practical outworking of this, Gavin encourages men to take a more activist stance in pointing our kids to Jesus, for example.  We need to set the pace as men.

    Gavin talks about his passion for AFC Wimbledon, how he used to play with Scott Parker and Sean Wright-Philips, but injury put paid to his hopes of playing football at national level.

    Gavin ran 1000 miles in 2019, and so we discuss the connection between fitness and faith. Gavin uses a lot of his time running talking to Jesus and listening to Him.

    Gavin gives us three great bits of advice on picking up the fitness after the excesses of Christmas: (1) compete with yourself, not your mates; (2) be aware that any routine takes 6 weeks to build; and (3) build fitness and exercise into your daily routine as much as you can.

    Gavin identifies with the disciple Peter for being such a normal guy, who blows it big time, but who also kept coming back, and being used by Jesus to be effective in the Kingdom of God.  If Jesus can use Peter, he can use you!

    Gavin shares about being convicted recently by God about being more brave - through a conference message, and then later by his daughter.  This conviction led to his decision to step up into his current role at the Evangelical Alliance.

    Christianity is an incredible adventure - and Gavin urges us that we must not let the wildness that God has put in us as men to be tamed.  Aslan from the Narnia chronicles is 'not a tame lion' and as men we do not follow a 'tame Jesus'.

    Gavin's heroes are Corrie Ten Boom and Robbie Earle, who played for Wimbledon in the 1990s.

    This is such a great podcast to kick off the new decade - thanks Gavin!


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    • 15 min
    Episode 5

    Episode 5

    We are in conversation with Darren Passmore, who is pursuing a part-time degree in Applied Theology at Regent’s Theological College.  We discuss Darren’s decision to study theology as a mature student, what led to his decision and what God has been revealing to him through his study, particularly around trust in God, identity and confidence.

    Darren opens up about how he was really challenged while he was growing up as a result of the divorce of his parents; and of finding out about his adoption as a young teenager.  He describes how God has been building healing, strength and wholeness back into him as he has journeyed in his faith.

    Darren’s key ‘takeaways’ are to keep on trusting to do things God’s way; to keep on taking risks; to keep on saying ‘yes’ to challenges; to keep on harnessing the power of prayer; and to keep on accessing the strength available in partnering with God as Father.

    Also instrumental in his growth has been the affirmation and encouragement from the blokes around him, working as ‘a band of brothers’ – and also being intentional about these things towards other men.

    Darren shares a picture he had at a men’s event a picture of men ‘going over the top’ in a World War I trench by themselves, when really men are all meant to ‘go together’.

    Darren particularly drew nearer to the ‘father heart’ of God through a Peter Jackson conference in Bath that was instrumental in helping him to receive fatherly affirmation in his heart and in taking ownership in his emotions, to bring deep healing after finding out that foundational things about family weren’t as they seemed.

    God is always able to make a message out of a mess!

    We talk about the importance of establishing reference points and healthy boundaries as Darren describes coming back to church in 2009 after a 12-year gap, seeking to develop meaningful faith and manhood for himself.

    Darren picks out David and Paul as two particular men from the bible with whom he particularly identifies, with the studies at Bible College helping him dig much deeper than just a surface grasp.

    He describes his aspirations to help blokes work out how to be Godly men, and how to understand what the bible meant back when it was written as well as what it means now.

    He also describes his wish for men’s events to be good quality, relational and missional in focus – to reach out to men in local communities around our churches, and for men not be alone on their journey.

    Darren shares his liking for his BMW, and how much he enjoyed the men’s “Band Of Brothers” MPower event at Elim’s International Centre in November 2019 – including a confirmation from the Lord about a name for a men’s ministry Darren is developing at his church while we all trekked up the hill overlooking Malvern.


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    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

Theonlyneo ,

I thank God for these podcasts!

It’s a real blessing to hear other men talk about their challenges, and what their relationship is like with the Lord.

We are not alone, we are a band of brothers in Jesus.

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