Healthy Faith
May 4, 2022

Victorious Together - Committed & Accountable Men Overcoming Life's Struggles | Mark Vesper & Steve Sargent

Rarely do men have the chance to be authentic, raw and vulnerable with other men

The lack of authentically being known leads to isolation, which in turn, leads to destruction.

Mark Vesper & Steve Sargent of Foxhole Symphony are men equipping men who are seeking belonging, accountability and growth. They have encountered and experienced life changing relationships with other men who have committed to loving each other, continually showing up, trusting each other with personal issues & confidentiality, and walking through life's hardships and struggles together.


Victorious Together - Committed & Accountable Men Overcoming Life's Struggles | Mark Vesper & Steve Sargent

What's up? Iron Deep podcast today. I got Mark Vesper and Steve Sargent. We're talking about how do you build this authentic genuine Brotherhood in Christ? Let's go!

What's going on? This is Brett Snodgrass with another episode of The Iron Deep podcast. And today I have Steve Sergeant Mark Vesper on the podcast with me today. What's going on guys?

 - Oh so much. So much. Good to be with you man. Hey Brett. Good to talk again.

- Yes yes. I was on your podcast, you know a while ago, called the Foxhole Symphony. And amazing podcast. And you guys have to check out the Foxhole Symphony. You guys been doing that for a while now. A couple years, I believe. And how's that going by the way? Talk to us about the Foxhole Symphony. Sarge we'll start with you man. What... what's that all about anyways?

- Yeah so I mean Foxhole symphony is all about it's much uh similar very similar to what you do I mean it is it's about um really equipping men to um really seek and embrace belonging accountability and and growth I mean that's that's what we're all about it's about iron sharpening iron it's real it's raw it's authentic you know a lot of it captures uh Mark and ey in our in our lives I mean we're just we're we're open books um we're you know hard on our sleeves kind of guys and we we just don't believe that you know you've got to kind of put on this mask and you know U make it all look good right because it's just not always good and so um you know that's what it's all about is is coming together with whatever is going on in our lives and as well as inviting others you know to to share what's going on in their lives and to to be sharpened and to help sharpen us yeah no definitely that's what this shows about uh today I mean that's what that's what foxo symphony is about that's what iron deep is about it's about iron Sharp sharpening iron and really fostering that authentic Brotherhood in Christ uh I met with you guys like I said about a month or two ago and right off the bat I mean I know we were on the zoom but right off the bat I could just tell there was something between you two that I desired that I wanted I saw a relationship an authenticity a genu about you that you really had each other's backs that you were both standing in each other's corner which it's just so amazing to see as brothers in Christ so Mark I'll just throw it at you um sure talk to about your guys' relationship because I know this just doesn't happen overnight and I want to talk about equipping building a masculine relationship a Brotherhood can you talk to us about your relationship with Sarge how did that come maybe there's a story or pivotable moment in your relationship there's a story all right there's a story I can't even get started come on yeah thanks bro um so Brett there is a story um Sarge the words I would use to describe where we were in our lives 18 years ago is he was at a low and I was at a lost um so I I had a group of men meeting here in my basement um that we have been for the last 18 years um every other Thursday and long story short um Sarge heard through a common friend at church that this might be a good place to to drop by and get some authenticity right but the truth is while I it was my house and I was kind of the banner waiver for the Band of Brothers which is the name of that group um by the way it was right around the Tom Hanks uh Stephen Spielberg show so we borrowed the name a little bit but nonetheless um sard showed up at my door one day literally on his doorstep just waiting right and it wasn't it wasn't a Thursday I don't think I'm not sure if it was or it wasn't just like a baby literally this guy I never met before shows up at my door sobbing weeping um and he he needed he needed connected yeah and I really um it was the first real challenge of my leadership in Men's Ministry to say like okay this is welcome or the the real truth is I was scared to death I was like I got like eight guys downstairs and we're just starting to show a little intimacy a little authenticity it's starting to get raw and real they feel safe here and there's a guy in my porch crying you know what what do I do with that like you know that's a little too much you know you could have went that that direction right yeah and it just kind of turned him away but and and it would have been easy yeah but the truth is God knew exactly what we both needed then and I can tell you to fast forward 18 years we've U I love this man and and his heart for god um I'm not ashamed to say that at all and we live our lives together the highs the lows The Valleys the mountaintops the challenges the joys the family sge is most of his family's been baptized in my pool in the backyard so we there's a lot of connections over you know almost two decades uh of doing this together and bring us to Foxhole Symphony podcast where we're walking down the street to have coffee a few years ago and I just said to Sarge I said you know I think we've got something to say I say we're not published we're not counselors we're not preachers we're not theologians but we've been working through men in Men's Ministry for so long uh together why don't we talk to folks we should it's a book it's a song it's a podcast it's a what and next thing you know we had Foxhole Symphony figured out and now we're dropping our 60th episode next Friday wow so that's the shortest version of 18 years that I can do starting with a a pivotal moment of many many pivotal moments in our lives together where we've just trusted each other yeah yeah well thanks for and sometimes it's ugly the fact yeah on your doorstep weeping and sge I I'll pass it over to you because I'm I'm reading over about your life um a little bit and here's here's what I kind of see dirt bike riding motorcycle adrenaline junkie entrepreneur chasing after the next high yeah your life and I would imagine uh someone that lives that out doesn't come to vulnerability vulnerability very easily and here you are showing up at a doorstep completely vulnerable with with the unknown talk to us about that that moment for you what what what was kind of going on too yeah well I mean a little bit of background you know somebody like that you know an adrenaline junkie I mean you know a lot of that is escapism you know um you know I do believe God wired me for adventure so there there's a there's a you know a good side and a bad side of that right there's the blessing and the curse of of having that wiring um in my in my sinful nature um it looks a lot like chasing the next high whether that be whatever it may be I mean honestly and so early on in life that led to drug addiction it led to imprisonment um and you know really a very hard life that you know filled with coincidence I'm sorry filled with consequences that I you know I brought on myself yeah um and that and that got allowed um now once God entered entered My Life um there's still a there's still a draw you know to that adrenaline and I still I still um you know I still love Adventure right Mark calls me rocket Sarge that's his nickname from he's rocket Sarge you know he's just gonna hang on to the the win but and that's okay I mean that again it's a it's about the design and and many men listening have that wildness about them right yes yeah yes and it's a good thing and it is it is god-given I love I love to live life on the edge you know I have friends remind me like Mark and others say wait a minute you're you're you're complaining about being on the edge of the cliff but you put yourself there you you that's where you wanted to be that's you thrive right but to answer your question what was going on at that point you know this is this is post you know um release from prison this is now entrepreneur you know life this is you know um so in business two young children you know married for uh half a dozen years uh maybe more maybe almost almost 10 and going man how how am I doing like I have I have no I feel like I have no support I feel all alone um I'm struggling here I've got three different businesses I'm I'm juggling none of them are really all that successful financially um trying to provide for my family you know I'm holding the weight of the world on my shoulders having no idea what it looks like or even that I could offer that weight to to my savior um and you know I'm at church and I'm on the brink of going back to an old life you know really I mean potentially risking it all and you know somebody says something in church from the platform you know a dear friend of ours Dan and I go up to him afterwards and I'm sobbing I'm like listen I'm broken I'm a mess I need connection I need accountability I need belonging I need I need I need and he's like call this guy he's got a you know a group that meets in his basement and the story is that I called Mark um expecting a call back like in an hour and he sat on it for like a month that's that's what happened so like like thank God he sustained me during that time okay but but but like yeah I deny this that's a good leader you can deny it all you want yeah anyway the absolute truth so that's what was going on and of course I came in listen what do what what did I have to lose nothing I was so so I was raw vulnerable vomiting all over this is my story this is who I am this is what's going on in my life and I need help you know and you know what I didn't realize I needed was a a Band of Brothers to carry me to the foot of the cross so um you know that's what happened no thank you thank you guys for for sharing that the beginning of your relationship and now 18 years later again doing the podcast together but just doing life together I mean I heard baptisms family togetherness um mark uh mentorship and discipleship obviously has been on your heart for a long time and uh sge isn't the only person that you've brought in but seems like you guys have have built this strong Brotherhood I want you to talk about you know just that mentorship discipleship in your own life um what does that kind of look like and when did that you know God really start laying that on on your particular heart bringing men into your own home you've mentored disciples many others and just again building and encouraging and equipping uh that Band of Brothers can you just talk to us about the importance of that just in your own life uh maybe as the leader or as the participant in it all yeah let me take a shot at it first um so band to brothers and and having guys here was U I'm sure God was involved in it but I have to admit a selfish desire I was part of what we called life groups at Church where families you know three four five six families would meet on Sundays and eat and play and swim and do things together right building Community outside the church building right we were the local church and some of the guys in that group were pretty cool and I'm thinking this is me and my early 40s and I'm thinking wonder if they want to hang so literally Banda Brothers started with me sing to three four five dads hey what are you doing on Thursday well let's just pick a day let's get together and talk Maybe a little bible but it wasn't a Bible study so um that was on my heart and and being part of that type of community interested me um I got in over my head pretty quickly so the evolution of that was now what do I do with men's Brokenness right like all of a sudden you're getting real and starting to tell the truth a little bit and I thought I'm not equipped for this you know and I I would try to fix everybody I had my hammer out and my duct tape out and I'd make sure you know that that Mark the counselor would step up and wrong you know just it didn't take me long to realize that was the wrong idea but as time went on God brought new men there with other skills men who had maybe been in AA that could help sponsor somebody who might have had an alcohol problem and then other people who had either been incarcerated or knows what that trail and path is like to come out and turn their lives around and turn towards God and so God just started to seed different people in in the group not sure it was all evident to me then but it was certainly a necessity for for growth in that environment and then I forget exactly what year but around 2011 Sarge invited me and a bunch of guys to a marked men for Christ weekend and this is where he was leading and I and I just you know with without asking too many questions said sure I'll go on that weekend and I think I was one of 10 or 11 guys yeah 12 12 guys right who followed you to marked men talk about real yeah so so we we have continued to lead as well as participate in different men Ministry environment that we've built or been part of building right up to in September of 23 Serge and I are two of the five members of a new small group we call Victorious together yeah and it's Five Guys who knowingly joined for the simple purpose to live together grow together hold each other accountable love on each other and it's the next step in our Evolution as friends and partners in life yeah yeah victories together is is worth talking about because it's you know we listen we don't have all the answers we don't have this figured out we've tried a bunch of things and we've you know tried tried our best to be obedient to God and and go where he's directed us and all of the Ministries we've been involved involved with whether they were you know of our of our own you know Vision or whether it's somebody else's and we're just participating all have sort of knit together you know this this beautiful tapestry that we now know of as as authentic Christian Community you know with other men and Victoria together after you know two decades now is in my opinion sort of the um my gosh I don't even know how to refer to it it's it is it's so beautiful I I and and I'm not saying like we've arrived or we've figured this out it's just God's provision you know God brought five men together you know Mark and myself and three others who wouldn't normally come together this this is not you know Mark picking his four best friends to come together to meet together that's not what happened that's not who these five are and and so it's unbelievable um and and what's more unbelievable is the season that God has had each of us five in over the last five six months um the amount of pain that we've endured in our personal lives the the the absolute dependence on one another and and on God through this this community and we can talk about what that looks like but is unbelievable in all five of us are just we're in awe of what God has done through our obedience you know Mark sat with us and was like this I don't even know what this looks like but I sense God calling us to do something consistent with the same small group of men and continue to be real and vulnerable and intimate like we are in other groups but just the five of us and see what God does with it and boy has he has he done something with it and I mean daily it's unbelievable that and by the way the the words faithful come to mind the men are faithful to each other but God has been faithful in this environment BR it's a PhD level class in life that that's how I would describe what we're doing with each other and and several of these men didn't know each other at all no prior to joining no never met or met on the periphery of a like waving a church kind of environment so um but have but had have done men's Community have been you know yeah and and and were at a place in their life where they valued it you know and and we're you know just at a point God had each of us at a point where we were like yeah I this is a no-brainer I'm in and I bring all of me you know to that and whatever God wants to do I'll get on the operating table let's let's do this and see what he see what he has for us and none of us knew the season that we would be entering into at that time but it's been unbelievable yeah and it percolated with me for a year I I was thinking about doing that I I wanted to take the Band of Brothers the every other Thursday basement group and just I needed I needed to turn but I had to get over the am I just being selfish how do I stop doing banded Brothers when men need it it's an Open Door environment banded Brothers is come as you are there's no dues there's no attendance like if you bring a a box of Twinkies you're in yeah you know and and by the way none of this this is all organic I mean none of this is is certified nonprofit Ministry none of it this is just it's a name it's a we slap on it you know for for our text string you know but other than that it's it's not for us you know we we've got jobs we just we just um can't do without it yeah yeah I want to talk about obviously the I think the biggest things is you've been in men's communities for long enough and you've seen things work really well and you've seen other things not work and I want to talk about let's just talk about what why does it work um let's talk about Victorious let's talk about you know because he had Band of Brothers uh you were doing that sort of community obviously you feel like that this was a step up a PhD in life there's something different in that particular group things seem to be working God's been faithful in this particular group it starts obviously there but is there some other elements that is so impactful so maybe the guys out there are thinking about I do desire Community but what are some things that you've seen make it more impactful make it really work versus not just another thing not just another Che checkbox I gotta check off I'm going to go on a Thursday but it's really impactful and you can't live without it yeah during this season obviously can you talk to us about what makes it that obviously yeah you want to start yeah I'll start with a couple of thoughts on that um you know one is consistency um so again we have the same group of guys uh gathering together not just in person but daily um digitally so we we do Gather in person um bi-weekly um for prayer to check in uh catch up with one another um but daily we're walking with each other through Bible plans in the uver Bible app uh through other other means we're doing um uh wire for men gather Ministries pray like a man uh right now it's um two weeks it is 14 days of prayer and so we you know we have a text string where we're commenting on that we also while we have a a devotion going uh in the Bible app that we just take turns picking and and God has used that so much I I you know this morning alone you know the the in in again in his Divine you know way and wisdom and provision he lines this stuff up for us where it's just what we need right when we need it and um and then just you know again I think there's a commitment so it's consistency everybody's participating regularly daily if somebody goes dark for a day it's a problem like somebody's getting a a butt whooping you know like what's going on somebody's going to their house we're breaking down the door going where's so and so no caving um not allow and not that there's a lot of that it's it's rare but I've been guilty of it maybe a couple couple of times and they know it's something's up with Sarge but then it's also the commitment and not just the commitment to the consistency but the the commitment to one another the commitment to prayer the commitment to participating the commitment to um you know the the values of authenticity availability vulnerability intimacy confidentiality all of these things that are critical to having you know a a success successful authentic Community um you know and that's just some of them but those are some really important ones and there's there's a commitment to that and a level of maturity in our approach and so that's the other piece that that listen the five of us have a level of spiritual maturity and so I I don't know how much that lends itself to what we're doing together um you know I I think there's something to that whereas you know the Band of Brothers and and and things like that it's open to anybody regardless of where where you are you know it's hey come as you are you know um but this you know small group that we have you know kind of chosen each other that we believe God brought us together just happens to be a spiritually mature uh group that's done a lot of work heart work emotional work you know we've got a pretty deep understanding of our Brokenness our woundedness and our giftedness and so that lends itself very well to you know a group that is fully engaged amen so the some of the words that I've heard obviously consistency commitment and you have everyone that is on board do you have a a leader a facilitator that's because typically these groups small groups men's groups have someone pushing pushing the needle forward right yeah yeah yeah so we we we don't but I will point to this guy I mean listen Mark you know God gave Mark this this vision and he was obedient to you know pray and reach out to who he thought God was putting on his heart to invite into this and so he was absolutely a catalyst and I would say he continues to be at times when we need a little you know a little kickart right um there's maybe a dry season or a busy season or you know people go dark and quiet he he's often the Catalyst saying hey guys or you know this prey like a man hey why don't we do this but I would say as We Gather no I mean generally there's no facilitator there's no leader um which is which is kind of unique and that was by Design though it was I remember the first time I talked I said I don't want this mine it's might be my basement my porch yeah the yard but that's it yeah and that's you know that's an important like Brett you're you know you're an entrepreneur you're a leader you know many of us are anointed leaders right and and I don't think I think it's important to note that that's not Mark abdicating his leadership anointing uh or denying that it's it's more him saying you know handing it over to God saying I don't I don't need to be the leader I don't need to control this right I don't need to you know this is this is God's thing and any one of us will step in and lead or facilitate wherever needed and that might mean facilitating another man's heart work asking guided questions you know probing gently and compassionately but directly um you know prayer I mean we've got a couple of really incredible prayer warriors you know in the group that it's it's like they pray I'm like whoa I need more of that in my life could you call me every morning right we're just learning this it's so cool yeah unbelievable I'm like I had no idea this guy was anointed in that way can I can I grab that that that's a great tangent Brad and I apologize if this isn't right on the question but when I think of the common denominator for everything the five of us are doing it's God and that's that's not to oversimplify or minimize his impact and I'll I'll tell you how because we we often in in church circles you hear the word god sightings we're all looking for God right how do I know is that God or is that me right we're doing the five of us are doing uh the U verion Bible app and we're doing a Bible reading plan that day a manly Bible reading plan that we have we have you know five days six days whatever it is and I don't know if you're familiar with the Bible the uver Bible app but it always the homepage has a verse of the day yeah right and it's a short verse and someone gets on someone uh in the Christian world speaks for two to three minutes about why that verse is so important well for us when we ask how is God in it in the last 60 days we're doing Bible reading plans that are kicking Us in the gut yeah and the verses in our Bible reading plan are the verse of the day yeah and it's as as what more evidence do you need do we need that God is in it and not only the verse of not not only is it the same topic and and verse but just happens to speak directly to one of the you know um pray requests prayer requests in the group like exactly what we needed you know to hear from the Lord and and not on Monday and Wednesday it's the same day same day so I I say that to give confidence to anybody listening if you're wondering if God is in your plan to meet with other men to be authentic to be real to find a safe place to unload your garbage so you God can fill you back up with his grace and mercy the answer is yes he is you got to give him a chance you got to be quiet it's right it's quick to listen slow to speak slow to anger all over is what this is about no I love that and that's one thing uh I think on our podcast you guys have just grown the intimacy with the Lord the intimacy with the father I've just that's been evident you guys have been talking about that on our show you talked about it on this show Mark let's just let's just kind of like go with you on that in this season of your life um we've been talking about the Brotherhood now let's just kind of talk about intimacy with God knowing his voice can you talk about just your life right now what that kind of looks like because again you're you know we're asking these questions is that from God is that from me like what what does that sound like what's the shepherd's voice sound like uh yeah talk to us about this just from just from the heart sure sure um for me it was a very very simple life shift about now five six years ago something told me that I had to spend time in the word every day every single morning at wake up I know again that sounds simple we've all read it we've heard it that how important being in the word is but that's what I did I simply committed using the uver Bible app I don't even know how many days in a row it's been but it's thousands and I just said I'm going to put myself in that environment I'm going to do the Bible plans for a year I'm going to start letting that wash over me every single day and intimacy grew for me by being faithful to do that and that commitment and that's right up my alley I admit it that's how I'm wired I'd love to check the box but checking that box has borne so much fruit in my life it it it birthed a podcast with you it birthed a Victorious together God continues to show me his face over and over and over and I just can't get enough of it I I choose that intimacy and God speaks to me through song through verse in readings in in words from my brother's mouths in my family Etc I've just decided to try and listen just a little better and it's a very hard thing for me uh to shut up uh but ultimately that intimacy is born from a commitment to never let a day go by without reading something from his word I love that that's just uh just kind of sticking to the base I think as entrepreneurs and as creators we feel like even as as just a modern day church we feel like we have to try something different like what's try something new and um it's the singular purpose it's the same as it's been for hundreds and thousand or hundreds and then thousands of years it's just the sticking to the basics reading the word right uh listening in prayer so that's that's awesome that's amazing yeah if if you don't mind me saying so the the icing on that cake was since I realized it took me about the first year and first bible plan to get through Leviticus and numbers and Deuteronomy and not understanding what the heck was going on I ultimately leaned on the Bible project before it's blown up I know the Bible Project's now blown up but four or five years ago it was not blown up they were look you know asking for donations to keep developing and building and so on and and Tim and John are incredible the two guys who who operate that Ministry and I can't recommend it enough I I couldn't possibly say enough about it in explaining the word the little videos that they do the classroom work with that they do the podcasts that's how I learned to podcast by listening to them so I just want to plug the Bible project because it's been so valuable for me in my walk and I know in others as well awesome thank you so much for that I wrot that down to the Bible project make sure you check out and there there's a there's some other different things my my wife's going through the Bible recap right something just just really good for her about just kind of like um you know going through the Bible but then having a guide to go through it starge maybe same question I know month or so ago you were talking about your mornings were so sweet spending minutes or hours with the Lord being still and yeah talk to us about that in your season right now it's interesting when you ask the question about intimacy with God I actually like my scalp tingled because I I you know this season since really August September through today like literally this very moment I I have been utterly dismantled my entire life Outlook circumstances um over and over and over again I've been sifted um I'm still trying to understand why God has allowed it because I'm right in the midst of it but the reason I bring it up is because of the intimacy the dependence on God daily hourly at this moment you know five minutes at a time develops such intimacy and maybe that's just it right maybe maybe that's the only reason that God has allowed on I believe there's more he's he's he's I'm at a turning point in my life my career um something's coming he's going to do something um not only is he doing it in me but he's going to do something through me that's new and he's preparing me for that and I I know he has I've I've heard from the Lord I've heard from others there's been prophecy there's been just in my my daily readings with with the Lord um quick quick recap you know my brother died odid in September I went to spend time with my parents um you know my my dad's having some some health issues um you know all of this amidst some major challenges at work in my business with my partner um I actually took the month of November as a mini sabatical working remotely um I spent hours on the beach every morning watching the sunrise from 5: am to 7 am listening to him talking with him um really learning for probably the first time in my life spread what it really meant to be still and know that he is God having no idea what was what was to come and what was to come transpired you know yesterday which was I attempted to um have a a peaceful god-honoring succession plan in place to exit my business uh with with my partner and unfortunately that was not my partner's plan um and so um you know I was essentially escorted out of my own business yesterday um and so it's pretty pretty raw yeah um lots of grief there lots of emotion um and it'll it'll take time but God knew God knew you know God knew and um and he's doing something so to answer your question you know there's there's Intimacy in the suffering and I don't think we talk about it enough yeah you know we could sit here and and and Shout you know and and and throw our pom poms in the air and you know scream touchdown because you know what right like this this walk with God is so good and it is and it is and there's pain too there's suffering and in the suffering in these dark deep valleys is where the real work gets done the mountaintops are awesome yeah they're awesome and man do they feed us and fuel us and keep us going as the adrenaline junkie man I want to I want to be more Mountains you know but it's in the valley where God tills the soil of our hearts and shows us who he really is reveals to us his character and shows us who we really are and what we're made of and that is we are his beloved Sons right he's he's thrown his his robe on our backs and his ring on our finger so no matter what's going on or or who somebody else says we are that's who we really are that's the intimacy that we have with God knowing who we really are in Christ and learning to live that out day by day through his grace man amen that's a good word that's a good word sge um I know we talked a little bit just the season of your of the Season that you're in uh things that I uh love to talk about is my relationship with the Lord is to to just know him more and to be known right and then also with other brothers yeah we all kind of that to know and then to be known um yes and I think maybe we'll do it maybe I'll wrap it up with this uh particular thing since you're talking about the season that you're in and we've talked about your groups and your men's Community what has worked you talked about going through the valley and tilling the soil there's obviously men that have came into both of your lives that maybe there hasn't been fruit yeah um so Mark can you just maybe both both you can kind of end with that is was there something a a a reason of a fruitless relationship in a man's life um is there's some things that come to mind uh you don't have to to go specific story-wise but is there things that come to mind of where it didn't work because we talk about Brotherhood we talk about Community it it's very good we've talked about things that work but yeah what was missing yeah go ahead man I could think of so many but I'll just actually I don't want to talk about a specific person yeah but I'll talk about uh environment and um what we lovingly refer to as a 2x4 in the forehead which God does to me regularly he knows how you have to treat him mule um ultimately I was under the misconception that uh it was my job to fix the guys who showed up you know and and uh especially the ones who didn't come back that it would really hurt me it was I took it personally in the first four or five years of banded Brothers I I didn't tell anybody this at first it just was rough you know guy comes two three four times starts to starts to give a little bit I can see there's a a little bit of a pattern underlying where God works on on that vulnerability and then they start to bring some of their Brokenness out to put it at the foot of the cross and then poof they're gone and that besides being a a Hil to climb for me I realized that over time and surrounding myself with the right people is that I I took ownership of these people that came and it was inappropriate yeah ownership they're Gods so we literally like right in front of the camera right here would be a hammer and duct tape it's sitting right over there next to me and that hammer and duct tape is it'll remind me to stop fixing so when it doesn't work out the that person or that situation is right where it's supposed to be it's in God's hands not mine so I can pray for them with the same enthusiasm and same level of comfort knowing that God had me in that person's life for a season and that was where I was supposed to be and that's it that is God's child and I can invite other people to pray for them I can because we you know we don't talk out what happens in the basement stays in the basement no pun intended and ultimately we live by that rule of safety first and then making sure that I understand as a leader in that environment that we are God's children he owns this time he owns the conversation and he owns our hearts hope that makes sense yeah I love that yeah I mean I share I share that I mean principally I I I yeah I mean those those the scenarios that come to mind that is the reason why right it's it's it's it's painful because I took an unhealthy ownership or responsibility for that man's life growth success healing whatever and I'm not God I'm merely his his vessel and facilitator right and and so um there were many years of you know ministering um to men gripped in addiction and you know we all know and listeners know that unfortunately that ends more in Failure than it does success yeah meaning death and you know have buried far too many of them and um you know the first one was a was a very very painful and it it took 10 years his 10 year an anniversary of his death I finally it occurred to me sitting graveside that it's it's not my fault it wasn't my responsibility and that I actually had no power to save him um and so you part of the question you you asked you know um I I I want to I want to try to address and and that is you know what is the the [Music] um gosh I don't even remember the the exact way that you you you asked it um but let me put it this way each of these relationships um I the piece you said was like what was God doing I think that's what you said like what what what what did God do in those or did was God at work right was God at work in those relationships or those efforts right when it doesn't work out and the answer is unequivocably yes like absolutely and and God's not just at work in that person God's at work in me in my heart and the others you know that are involved right God God's at work in all of it and some sometimes our own you know myopic view is we go well you know what we expected to happen didn't happen right it's circumstantial and God's view is just much bigger than that yeah and and so you know keep sewing seed right we just keep keep sewing and you know what like Matthew 13 I mean you know there's lots of different soil there's going to be concrete there's going to be Stony ground there's going to be some fertile soil praise God and and some Harvest along the way it's not our job to determine the fertility of the soil now the the the danger is and and what I've said to myself over and over again is I want to invest my time in F soil right I don't want to waste my time over here because it's really discouraging yeah and it is yeah right but I think we're called to just sew more seed sew more seed that doesn't mean I I think there is a level of intentionality to pour into the people that want mentorship that want discipleship that are in they're participating right and so

um good timing we're running out of battery so yeah so anyway I mean that's that's that's what I would say about you know when it doesn't work out and sometimes it doesn't yeah yeah I think what I heard from that was you both have put some expectations on the relationship the commitment um and the growth uh so you invited people in or people have came into this group and again you know so we're even an iron deep I have this I I can unhealth an unhealthy expectation of if you join you will grow spiritually financially in your family yeah where do I sign congratulations well done and if you don't Brett probably thinks I have failed at the end of that right and that's unhealthy sure absolutely by the way just very quickly keep in mind our brother Paul right in the Bible did a lot of sewing for a very long time and there's enough stories there of his failures yeah and you know hard to do a lot of uh evangelizing from jail but these letters and Epistles that we read today are such a love story of failure failure failure failure and then God shows up right so if anybody needs uh not just our experience but a Biblical background go to Paul's letters and enjoy and and to add to that what's failure right what how do we define success how do we Define you know and who me and whose measure is it right is it mine right it it it usually is when I sense failure it's usually my own measure my own like you said my expectations right on myself and others or even my expectations on God yeah here's here's you know here's what I need you to do right and maybe his plan is different yeah awesome well sge Mark uh appreciate you guys being on the podcast today this is amazing just talking about intimacy with God intimacy with other men uh just any last comment Mark as we just kind of tie up talk straight to the audience mostly men are listening to this podcast businessmen entrepreneurial men men that want to achieve uh they want a good life they want to thrive I think we all do right but they also talk to them um maybe they have a Brotherhood maybe they don't I don't know any last words absolutely uh two things come to mind first is man it's worth the risk whatever risk you're assigning in your own mind and your own heart to should I invest in blank and I mean it from from a men's Community perspective it's worth it I'm not saying it'll be successful every time or live up to your dreams or meet the the um the you know the card then and the scorecard that you've given it but investing your heart in growing closer to other men is absolutely a worthwhile investment of your time talents and treasures um so do it don't hesitate you have a chance to do that now make that something that you set a goal to get accomplished and and reach for it and it may be difficult and May be hard it may require some tears to get as close to God as God wants us but uh I have seen enough fruit born from this over the years to say it's absolutely worth it so if that's one of the questions in your mind I just answered it the other thing I just wanted to say is Brett that we are huge fans of yours uh and what you're doing uh love Iron deep and I thank you for giving us a chance to do it thank you thanks Mark appreciate you guys Sarge yeah yes so you know as a driven entrepreneur I'll just speak from my own my heart and my own experience which is you know I've had to really come to a place of surrender you know a surrendered heart and and that is um you know practicing presence over production you know I want to produce and what God desires of me more than my production is to be present present with him present with others and it's it's at the very moment that entrepreneurs Ministry leaders it's at the very moment that they they stop trying to make it all happen and say to God I I can't I need you to do it that things take off and Catch Fire and it's it's a movement of God that is so far surpasses what they could have done under their own strength this this duel you know we can only serve one master and so you know is it are we going to build our kingdom or his and and this is that tension that we it's not a tension to be managed it's it's attention to abandon and say it's all yours Lord right yeah here am I use me it's all yours you're the CEO what do you want to see happen here and I will use all of my god-given gifts talents energy to to make it happen in the way that that that that you say and so um you know that's that's what I would I would say and just encourage um and as we do that we develop authentic Community with others because now we allow ourselves to be completely seen and to see others without fear of judgment yeah and that that I believe is at the root of authentic Christian Community and it starts with learning to be present and surrendered I have nothing to prove. I have nothing to produce. it's all His.

-Yeah, I love that. I love that. Well thank you Mark Vesper for being on the show, and I think that wraps up the Iron Deep Podcast. Things just to kind of end you guys with today uh that Mark said it is worth the risk it's worth the risk uh to have a surrendered heart and to have presence over production appreciate you guys so much wish you the best God bless you both

-God bless you! Thanks, Brett!