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"HP+CP=MI" Gary Stroope discusses the importance of relationships and community. Specifically, how God has called men to mentor and encourage each other, younger men, and anyone in their life. Deep relationships allow men to speak truth into each other's lives. HP (High Potency) + CP (Close Proximity) = Maximum Impact.
Real Men and Their Sons
Real Men and Their Daughters
Real Men and Their Wives
Real Men and Their Work
Todd Wagner: I don't know if everybody here has had the chance to meet me. I'm Todd Wagner, and I get to serve alongside your daddies in this little ministry here that we call Watermark. As a group of guys, I think you might know sometimes you wake up on Tuesday mornings, at least recently (we do this a couple, three, four times a year), and your dads haven't been there because we've been here talking together about how we can be the men God wants us to be.
What we wanted to do today is invite you to join us so you can see a little bit of what we do when we're together. Now, it's going to be different today because you're here, and what we're really going to do is tell you what is important in our hearts and spend some time with you this morning in the way we want to tell you our heart is to do what we're going to do with you today more often at home.
So you can ask your dad, "Dad, help me do this on a more regular basis." You don't have to do it every morning. In fact, very few people do. I don't know anybody who does with their family like this because some many things are going crazy. To talk about God together and to learn about who Jesus is and the difference that he makes in your life, whether you're in kindergarten or high school or have a full-time job, is a big deal to us.
In the world, the people who you're going to run into the rest of your life have an idea about what makes you great. The one who your father and I serve, Jesus, tells us there's something else that makes us great. So I want to tell you a couple of reasons why we're here specifically and then find out a little bit about some of y'all and share some of these things with you.
What I did, dads, is I went and picked up a few things we use that are really easy, simple tools you might want to pick up with your kids. I want to show them to you from up here, and we're going to share these with different folks. There are different devotionals, and they're called, God and Me! Devotionals. You can get these at any little bookstore. They're really great.
They actually start from the 2- to 5-year-old ones. I did them last night with Landry. How long did it take us to do one? "Five hundred hours," she says. It was quite a study. But probably, taking our time and reviewing, with the little craft art project that's right there in the book, it's five minutes. It's a great time. It comes with a simple lesson. You read maybe two paragraphs, answer a couple of questions about what you just read, and then there's usually a little deal you can do on the other side. Sometimes it's colored in (this is for the 2- to 5-year-olds), and sometimes it's something different than that.
Why don't we just do this? Let's give this one for ages 2 to 5 to the youngest girl here who has even maybe a younger sister. So is there anyone here who's 5? Raise your hand. Any 5-year-olds. All right, good. We're going to come over here and ask you, "Do any of you have a younger sister who's not here today, but she's also around?" Do you have a younger sister at home? Uh oh. We have two of them.
All right, you guys come out here and wrestle. No, I'm just kidding. Sorry. Kaitlyn, how old is your sister? She's 2. Oh, and another Caitlyn. How old is your sister? She's 3? All right. I'll tell you what. We're going to let her have it, just because her older sister can probably do this best with her, but what we're going to do actually is give you this one. That's for you to share with your sister. Then we're going to give you this one from 6 to 9. So you can start doing that one with your daddy.
These are really good age-specific deals. Here's a 10 to 12-year-old one. I want to give this one to the 10- to 12-year-old who…let's see. Oh, doggone it. You got ripped off. She goes, "I'm 9." You got CLEPed right out there, didn't you? This is a really good one again. These things are like $10, and you'll love them. I highly recommend them.
Let's see. Raise your hand if you're 10 to 12. Then, why don't we do this? Let's see who drove the farthest. Anybody here come from a long way away? Hannah, you think you're farther? We have Becca all the way up there north of Frankfort. Anybody come from farther than north of Frankfort? Martha-Kate or Becca? Where'd you guys come from? How far did you guys drive this morning? Can anybody beat Allen, Texas, for 10- to 12-year-olds? Oh, yeah. Sara Hope.
I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to give this to Mr. Mark and his kiddos. They came from Kaufman this morning…got up at 5:00. I know they have some stuff like this at home, so I'm going to share this Mark. Take that. You guys enjoy that together. Have some fun with it.
Here's a couple more. These are a little different than those as you get up to the junior high age. This one: this one-year devotional for girls. Kirby and I have done this one, and it's a great book. You read this little thing right here. It has some Scripture with a good little application question. So again, this one right here. They call it The One Year Book of Devotions. It's a fantastic little deal.
Who here do we have who's in junior high? Raise your hand if you're a junior high kiddo. Couple of you? Yeah, there's Jenna, sweet Jenna. I'll tell you what. Why don't we give this one to the family that's been at Watermark the least amount of time. Shelby, since your daddy was one of the original eight families, you can put your hand down. Same with you Jenna.
How long have you guys been at Watermark? Less than 6 months. Is there anybody else in junior high who's been at Watermark for less than six months? I am going to give this to your father. Here you go, Mark. You guys enjoy that. Okay? It's great.
Here's the last one. This is the one I just showed you. This is excellent. Look for that little "one year," if you've ever seen a one-year Bible. You can get these any Christian bookstore. This one is The One Year Devotions for Teens. Susie Shellenberger writes and edits for Brio magazine. Brio magazine is Focus on the Family's effort to reach out to the high-school-aged folks, and this is just excellent. Very practical stuff.
Again, these are not devotionals that you have to spend 45 minutes with. It's about getting the seed of truth planted in your heart sometime during the day. I'm going to do the same thing with who came the furthest. I think I know the high school folks who got up and came the earliest. Who else here is in high school this morning? I have a couple. All right, good. Boy, a bunch of y'all.
Tell them where you came from this morning, David. Keller. Anybody further out than Keller? Yeah, that's a good long ways out. There's a couple of them here. So you guys enjoy this. You'll like that. Excellent book. You're fixing to go on a road trip anyways, so you can knock a few of those off. Glad you all are here.
Talk to your dad. If you don't have a good little devotional that you can do on your own or interacting with your dad… Dad, I'm telling you these are great. They are great conversation starters, extremely practical, and you'll love every single one of them. Hey girls, here's the deal. We're going to break you loose right now, but I want to tell you this.
Your daddies, and your fathers for those of y'all in high school (hopefully, you'd still call him daddy), have a job. Our job, God says, is to protect you, and our job is to provide for you, and our job is to prepare you. That's what we're going to make an effort to do all the days of our lives. Specifically, this morning, we're going to model for you one of the best ways to protect you is by helping you to understand some things that if you're left to yourself, you may not understand.
That's true all the way up until we release you when you're about 18 or 19 (in this country). To provide for you, not just food, not just clothes, but provide for you something that will nourish not just your physical body but your soul. Then to prepare you for the day when you're going to be out there, and nobody is going to be around you, and you're going to get to make decisions on your own.
So God says, "Fathers, I'm going to hold you accountable for the way you protect your kids from error and what the crowd says. I'm going to hold you accountable for how you provide for your kids." In other words, you're not just giving them food for their body but food for their soul. "And I'm going to hold you accountable for how you prepare them for the day that they're out there away from you and they have to make some decisions on their own."
Today is what day of the month? Does anybody know? The fourth. So I'll tell you a simple little tool we use in our household is we usually play around with the Proverbs chapter that goes with the day. Today being the fourth is a perfect day because it talks a lot about a father's responsibility with a daughter.
When you came in, dads, you got this sheet. You can see it's broken up. After you read Proverbs 4 with your daughter, there are some questions of interaction right there for you. We have high school kids and junior high and then also all the different other age groups that are down there. Let me pray for us, and then we're going to break you up with your dad. You're going to have about 20 minutes with him, and you're going to get to school on time. Guys, if you're here this morning without a daughter, just hang in this room with Gary and Blake and some of the others.
Lord, I'm so grateful for all the dads who love their daughters and want to provide for them, want to protect them, and want to prepare them for all the things you have planned for them in their life. So we as dads share with them the truth you shared with us. We talk about it in a way, Father, that would allow us to play a role in their life like you play a role in our life.
We are just a shadow of what their real Father is like, the perfect Father who protects us from evil, who provides for us in every way that we need, and who prepares us for all the challenges that this world faces us. So as imperfect fathers, we are grateful that we ourselves can have a relationship with our perfect Father and, as we share your wisdom, Lord, with our daughters, we can be more of what you ask us to be. Help us now love our daughters as we help protect, prepare, and provide for them. Amen.
Gary Stroope: I want to thank you guys for being here today. We have some single guys here, and we have some guys here who have sons, and we have some guys who are married who don't have kids yet, so we're covering the whole gamut. We're glad you guys are here. We were expecting you to be here, and that's why we made this provision.
I'm Gary Stroope, and I'm the Director of Arts for our church team. I get the privilege of serving with Todd and the rest of our ministry team. This morning, we just want to spend a few moments looking at some ways that God might encourage us on the same topic. I want to read to you from Genesis 1:28. It's really familiar, and every time I read it, I always think it's talking about having kids, but the message is a little bit broader than that.
Genesis 1:28 says this. " God blessed them[Adam and Eve]; and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over[it]…'" and he goes on to talk about what the means. When we talk about being fruitful and multiplying, we're certainly talking about human reproduction, but he's really talking about duplicating their love for God and duplicating what it means to place his Spirit. That was one of the ways he did that, by multiplying that family and widening its impact on the earth.
There's also a bigger and broader picture for that that relates to all of us. That's that we are to multiply who he is in the earth. This morning on the way in, I thought, "If I were to multiply me in the earth, that would not be a good thing. I'm glad there are some people who are quiet, and there are some people who are loud, and there are some people who are CPA-minded, because I am not." If the world was duplicating like me, everybody would be bankrupt. Trust me on this. I'm glad there are different kinds of people. We're not just to multiply us, we're to multiply who God is in us.
I was watching a football game Sunday because some of our church staff guys play our own little version of Fantasy Football. I think I'm in first or second. I'm not sure which, but it's way up there. I know that. These guys are not kind about this. I said to one of the guys yesterday, "I've learned my lesson today. I need to lose a little more often because it's getting kind of bitter in this room.
I was watching one of the football games. The last couple of weeks… I love it when the team is either behind or their tied, and they're going to do onside kick. It's one of the most exciting plays in football. During the preseason and at practice, they practice that play over and over and over again, because it's a defining play. All the effort has gone to this moment, and they've kept it even or their just right neck and neck. That one play can shift all those hours worth of work.
It's not the same guys on the field. The guys who run out there, they're on the special teams. They are the good hands team. Usually, there are all these linemen out there, these big beefy guys, and they're going to clear a way for the running backs to come through. Not this play. It's all the little skinny guys with gloves on. They're just waiting to grab that ball and end the game.
In the same way that I read that passage that says, "We need to be fruitful and multiply who God is in the world," it's time for the good hands people to be out there. Not just dads, not just ministers, but all of us. God has called that play because everything matters up unto that point. It mattered when I was a sophomore in high school, and I received Christ as my Savior because it changed the destiny of my life.
Before then I was cultural in my Christianity. I knew who God was, I knew the verses about salvation, but my sophomore year in high school, I did the long math that said I am a sinner and apart from God's influence in my life, no matter how good I am, I cannot change the destiny of my life. At that moment, I gave my heart to Christ in a deeper understanding than I had ever meant to that point.
I asked Christ to come into my heart and to forgive my sin and to give me a bright destiny and a future. I said, "Wherever you go, I'm going to go. I don't know all that that means, but I'm going to follow you." Since that day, he's been calling me, and he's been calling you, to be on the good hands team.
Scripture says, "Life is like a vapor. It's here for a moment, and it's gone." We're in the vapor time of life. Life is just here for a moment, and what we do with our relationships means everything. In my life, I was sharing with our parents this weekend at the parents' workshop, there's a guy by the name of Bob Dixon, and shortly after I made my profession of faith, that summer I worked for him.
All summer long, he spoke into my life as a sophomore and said to me, "Gary, you're going to be a great man for God." Actually, he did it when I was a seventh grader and spoke up all the way up that time and defined my faith. God began to work in my heart and speak to me. I was anything but a great man of God. I was just trying to get through acne and get through math, basically. That was about as deep as it got. But because he spoke those words into my heart and believed, not in who I was, but who God was calling me to be, it changed the destiny of my life.
I remember going back to my bedroom after that summer and for the first time in my life picking up Scripture, not even fully understanding what it meant, and began reading God's Word. I remember memorizing James 1. To this day, those verses in James mean a great deal to me because they were the first verses I committed to memory. That happened because a guy spoke into my world.
In our society, what it makes us want to do is say, "God, Bob Dixon. What a great guy." It's just the opposite. "Bob Dixon's God, what a great God." But I'm thankful that Bob was there to mentor me and love me and speak into my life. I think that's what God is calling men to be to each other.
Later on, when I got past those years of development, I had other guys in my life. I had pastors. I worked for a guy by the name of Dan when I was out in Miami. Dan was one of those guys who always encouraged me. I screwed up a million times on his staff. He was our staff pastor. I'd be sitting on the front row. He'd be out of town, and coming back in. He'd say, "Would you speak for me this weekend?" He'd come back in, I'd say, "You want to speak, right?" He said, "No, I want to hear you speak."
This guy flew all over the country. He could have shouted at me and corrected me and made me feel less than. It was just the opposite. I never will forget sitting on the front row on a Sunday morning. Dan's sitting there. He has his golf pants on. He's just coming from a trip. He leans over to me, and he says, "You're going to be awesome because you love God so well, Gary. Go get 'em." I remember it was like running onto the field. I was a part of the good hands team that morning.
Dan encouraged me, and he encouraged me not just on Sunday mornings. He encouraged me all the time. The 12 years I was on staff at Miami, Dan constantly was in my life telling me what was good about me. Not just puffing me up and giving me false self-esteem. What he said to me was true. The world will squeeze us into its mold if we let it. The Scripture says, "Don't let the world squeeze you into its mold." It does that because true counteracts what the world's lie is.
One of the things that men can do for each other, and men can do for younger men, is we can speak the truth into each other's world. It can't be the old PR thing. My wife is really gentle and loving and sweet until she gets with a salesman, and she becomes Attila the Hun.
I never will forget we were in Miami one time looking for a bed for one of our children, and the salesmen looked at her and said, "Ma'am, you seem like a wonderful mother. Do you want your kids to have straight spines?" She looked at him and says, "No, we don't really care about our children. We hope they slump the rest of their lives." She goes, "We're not shopping here," and we walked off. There are so many of our words that are passed around casually, where we pass out compliments that are just to puff each other up. They're selfish.
The other thing men can do for men and for our younger guys and younger girls who are around us, the people who are in our lives, cousins and children of our friends and younger people and people our own ages is we can say to each other the truth. Sometimes the truth is difficult. The more difficult the truth, the deeper the relationship ought to be, quite frankly.
I also had some other men in my life who speak the truth into my world. They do that because they have a deep relationship with me. Because they've loved me well, I can hear them really clearly. There are some guys who can come to me and say to me the most difficult things. I had a guy come to me right before I came on staff and say one day, "Gary, I notice that lately this is a pattern for you. You don't listen as well as I'd like to see you listen. You're always thinking about what you're going to say, and you interrupt."
The minute he said it, I knew it was true. It hurt me. I was embarrassed by it. As Paul said, "Not that I've laid hold and conquered that," because I haven't, but that has not left my consciousness. He didn't have to tell me why that was important because I'm a follower of Christ. If I don't listen to you, what it says to you is you're not important. I don't want to communicate that. It hurt me, and I still struggle with that, but because he had loved me well, I heard that. It rooted deep into my soul, and I struggle with it every single week because of that.
You're in a great place. This building and our church is full of men whose lives have been impacted. Some who were living their lives for themselves, and they were missing the great potential that God had for them. They've been loved well. A lot of times it happens in community. Community is not a program around here. It's something we do, because lives are changed because of it. You don't love people you don't know.
So if you aren't in a Community Group… Mike, I want you to raise your hand right back here. Michael Fleming, you can see him this morning. He'll help you put one together. He'll put you in one that's already established. In community, it's the greatest privilege. I think the best place to find a shepherd is in community; people who will speak into your world and love you well, and you get to love others well.
The other part of this whole multiply in Christ is how we live for him. Todd every week says, "Have a great week of worship," because worship is not what we do on Sunday; it's how we live. We know we're imperfect, but as we live lives in front of each other… I have friends on staff team who have forgiven me and who have ministered to me. That's not some speech or here's what I believe or sitting around a Bible study. It's what they've done for me. That's what we can do for each other. In community, we can love each other really well. We can forgive each other. We encourage each other.
I want to end with a little formula that Bill Hybels shared a couple years ago at one of the workshops I was at. It hasn't left me. It's part of my memory. This is the formula for us having a great ministry in people's lives. HP + CP = MI. In the physical world, you can put the right amount of hydrogen and the right amount of oxygen together, and it creates water. It completely changes the outcome of those two components. They become something else. This is the formula for us having a maximum impact on our world. It goes like this.
High potency + close proximity = maximum impact. All three of those are very important. High potency basically says this. "I don't have anything to give you." The potency of God being alive in my heart is what makes the impact. It's not me. It's not my personality. It's not my life experience.
It's great to have knowledge, but knowledge… We've seen all the time. Guys go to Bible study after Bible study after Bible study and for some reason, they don't reflect who God is. As we study God's Word, we apply it to our lives, but high potency is because I'm hanging out with the Father.
One of the great gifts we can give the younger men in our church and our friends and those who we love is to have a potent life. If I hung out with God this morning, now when I go to hang out with my team and those who I work with, I bring the potency not of Gary but the potency of Christ. The first question I have for you this morning…Are you of high potency? Are you full strength? You aren't if you haven't been connected to the Father this morning.
The next thing is close proximity. To put that potency in close proximity to those who would be influenced by it creates maximum impact. I'm going to ask Jim Wimberley to come up and share a very practical application. You may already be in a Community Group and your life is hitting up against some other guys and some other gals and friends, and you may already be serving, but Jim's going to share some ways you can have maximum impact. These aren't programs, but here are some ways that you can automatically place the potency that Christ has placed onto your heart into the impact of somebody else's life.
Jim Wimberley : Thank you, Gary. I know a lot of you guys have sons or children below the ages that we have here this morning. It starts out that your top priority is to your own children, but God brings other opportunities into our lives to have an influence just on those people who we come in contact with. There are also some excellent ministry opportunities we would especially like to encourage the young men or even older men who maybe are empty nesters to get involved in having an influence on a younger person here at Watermark.
We're going to have a sheet that Richard will have at the door to hand out to you as you leave. It gives a number of different opportunities where you can have an impact on children or young people. A lot of those are in our own children's ministry here at Watermark. There's also opportunity with DivorceCare and single parents of how you can serve as mentors. There are high school opportunities to serve, and also there is an outreach program we call Vision Kids. It's mentoring children in schools over in West Dallas.
God would have all of us be involved to have that maximum impact that Gary is talking about. So we're going to have those as you go out the door. Before you do that, before we break and leave, I'd like to pray for us. Let's pray.
Father, we do just want to thank you for this morning. Lord, we thank you for Christ who changes our lives and gives us the opportunity to participate with you in seeing other people come to know Christ and that life change take place with them. Father, we do just want to have maximum impact and maximum influence for you with our own children but also with children who may not be as fortunate to have a Father.
We pray you might put it on the hearts of those us here this morning who might get involved in some of the programs that we have here at Watermark as well as something like Vision Kids outside of the body of Christ. Father, we do just pray that you would help each of us be spiritual leaders in our homes, and we pray for the men who might not yet have wives. We pray you would raise up godly wives for them and you would be developing them right now to be the husbands and fathers that you want them to be.
Father, we realize we cannot do any of this except by your power. We thank you for your faithfulness and thank you for this time this morning, and we thank you for each of the daughters who came with their dads. We pray it'll be a very, very special time for them. Lord, we just pray in Christ's name, amen.
(Fall 2005) There is a different Men's Club in town - a place where men of strength and integrity are willing to face the truth even if it involves pain from present or past troubled relationships or circumstances. At this club there are men who are willing to live their lives with honor. Men who are responding to a noble call. A call to live for a something greater than their own pleasure, prominence or gain.