Evangelical, Mentors, Perpsective, The Gospel

Insignificance: We Are All At Risk

ASPIRE small

I first met Jason Williams in early 2011 at an interest meeting for men who desired to mentor the fatherless youth within Birmingham’s inner-city communities. It was there that we all heard of the Mercy Street Ministry mentorship model that had been taking place in Dallas which involved a 6-9 year commitment from each mentor to his or her respective mentee, beginning somewhere during that mentee’s fourth, fifth, or sixth grade school year.

Jason and I stayed in touch every few months since that first meeting in 2011 as he had been growing his own version of a Mercy Street Ministry that God put on his heart to cultivate in our Birmingham communities: The Aspire Movement. After multiple visits together at my Iron Tribe Fitness offices in downtown Birmingham, it was clear that God had called Jason [and me] to go all-in on what Jason experienced in his pilot for Aspire.

Look no further than Jason’s story to see how incredible God’s sovereignty truly is and why this is where He chose to lead Jason’s path.

As I was able to jump in and serve as a mentor, it was clear that the transformational experience of spiritual growth is just as significant for the adult male mentor, as it potentially can be for the young, fatherless mentee.

Jason says it best when he states there are two groups at-risk–fatherless youth and the church. Fatherless youth are the obvious group, with a greater likelihood of getting into trouble with the law and never graduate from high school. The less obvious group is the church who is at-risk of living completely insignificant lives, overlooking the needs of youth growing up in our own backyard.

By the end of 2014, it was clearer than ever to Jason, the Aspire Board and I that it was time to take The Aspire Movement to the next level. This meant that more than just mentees in Fairfield (West Birmingham) and mentors from a few Birmingham churches would have the opportunity to serve in this incredible transformational cause that God created through Jason’s story.

It was time for us to work together to solidify The Aspire Movement by involving more churches, where mentors are ready to serve in the community, and it was time for us to offer this opportunity to more schools whose youth are in need of this ministry.

Here in 2015, that’s exactly what the Lord has done. Calling Jason from his previous role as Briarwood’s Urban Missions Pastor into his current role as full-time Executive Director of The Aspire Movement.

And for me, both as a mentor for Mekhi and a board member for the ministry, I am more motivated than ever to labor for Christ in any way I am called to, so that we can truly transform these two at-risk groups in His name.

Visit http://www.aspiremovement.org to learn how you can get involved as a mentor and/or donor to help address these two at-risk groups (our youth and the church) in His glorious name.

Journal, Perpsective, The Gospel

Be Careful What You Ask For!

Monday, January 12, 2015


I wrapped up my quiet time with a short, half page journal entry. I usually finish the entire page, but I was in a rush to get in my car and head to the office for our Monday Morning Meeting that I lead each week with our corporate team.

“What if my life was a continuous risk-taking plunge, that forced me to live a life dependent on God? How different would I live compared to how I live now?

That’s it! I am going to take one risk this year for the sake of The Gospel, that is dependent on Him with no guarantee he will deliver the result I’m hopeful for as I take this risk.

I often look at so many of the unfortunate situations in the lives around me, wondering ‘Why not me?’ People I know have died much too early from cancer and other, more abrupt causes… Yet, I am still here?

For what? Why? How can I leverage whatever time I have left to make the most of it for those that I am able to touch?

This unknown time that I have remaining on this earth, must be my bankroll for this risk I am going to take for Him, without knowing how He might return my investment.”


I began my daily 20 minute drive into Birmingham, to our Iron Tribe HQ near Southside’s Pepper Place. As I drove in, I continued a tradition I began a couple months ago, listening to Kevin Elko’s Monday Morning Cup of Inspiration.

Kevin has helped countless college and professional sports brands, from their coaches to their athletes, focus on keeping their ‘eye on the prize’ with his motivational sports psych expertise. He’s worked with ‘Bama Football, The Yankees, The Steelers, The U (Miami) Football and so many other groups of coaches and athletes.

He also was the keynote speaker at our recent TribeCon14 annual franchise conference event that we hosted here at The Westin Birmingham for our Iron Tribe franchise partners, and he pushed us all quite directly to ‘stop wishing to receive the blessing and instead, go out and BE THE BLESSING.’

His Monday Morning Cup on January 12th left me with two takeaways. First, ‘be comfortable being uncomfortable.’ Second and more importantly, ‘stop wishing life was easier; just GET TOUGHER.”

[Click on either of the two Monday Morning Cup links above to listen to this one – it’s worth it]


A few us meet each week to discuss a book we’re reading (What’s Best Next? by Matt Perman) and before we began our Monday Morning Meeting with our entire team, I played them Kevin Elko’s Monday Morning Cup and then we prayed for God to help us focus on being desperate for Him and inviting Him to make things tougher, so we will only rely on Him more to be able to GET TOUGHER.


Because we introduced a new format for our Monday Morning Meeting, it ended in 32 minutes, instead of lasting for its usual 60 minutes.

The team walked out of the conference room on the 3rd Avenue/27th Street South corner of our building, and I walked into Forrest’s office to put a game plan together for an important project we would be working on side-by-side all week.


An extremely loud, thunderous sound occurs, which is not unusual because accidents happen weekly on the 3rd Avenue/27th Street corner of our building.

Then the thunderous sound (with slight millisecond moments in between it as you heard it) became louder and louder, with Kelli (who works at the front desk which has all windows facing the 3rd Avenue/27th Street South corner) screaming “Oh my God… Oh No!” louder and louder intermittently.

Then… IMPACT into our building… Power goes out… Lights off… Vibration felt… Forrest and I rush out of his office to see a truck stuck inside of our building.


Before I keep going, let’s list off the realities of physics here;

  1. The gym side of our building had no classes going on, so the only people in that side of the building were in their offices (our manager, Josh Taylor, and coaches Mike Collins and Alex Brigham).
  2. The gym side of our building is a low-bearing, concrete wall, that directly supports the roof of our building.
  3. The corporate office side of our building is nothing but glass and sheet rock.
  4. There were ten of us in offices on this corporate office side of the building.
  5. Our TribeMobile Tahoe truck that Tra Griffin (VP of Birmingham Gym Operations) drive, was parked in a spot that was directly in line with the corporate office side of the building, which caused the truck to veer toward the gym side.
  6. The semi-truck did not have a load. An empty load would have been 5-10 more tons of weight behind the truck, while a full load would have been twice as many tons of weight behind the truck.
  7. The semi-truck hit the power line directly and missed the gas line by mere inches.

Thus, the potential results;

  1. The truck goes deeper into the building because it is carrying at least an empty load or at most a full load, and the ceiling collapses on everyone in the building, because the low-bearing support wall is totally destroyed by the increased impact.
  2. Tra doesn’t park his TribeMobile Tahoe in that spot and the truck goes into the corporate office, destroying the mere glass and sheet rock that primarily make up this side of the building, running us all over.
  3. The truck hits the gas line and an explosion occurs.

Here is a diagram of the turn that the truck driver tried to make, and why the accident happened.

I’m not going to go one step further and talk about what the news stories could have been, which you could have read last week versus this personal blog article of mine.

But I can tell you this, they would have been life altering for a lot of different groups of people.


I finished that page in my journal. It’ll be a page of two different, but united tales, that I will hopefully re-read for how many years I am left on this earth. It’s context. It’s perspective.

“Why does God give us challenges? Why is life so hard? How can we believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing, sovereign God, as our Creator and Eternal Lord, when things like this don’t always have this blessed ending? With the horrors of man that are continuously prevalent in this world?

Well, all that God has created is good. Through our sin, we each continuously take great creations from Him and disfigure it in ways that mutate these things He has blessed us with. Look no further than ways we have abused sex, alcohol, or even the environment, etc.. We think we know what to do with those creations, to the point that we abuse them in ways where they have power over us.

Life is supposed to be hard! Challenges are supposed to come our way! If you think it’s easy, it’s probably because you aren’t trying hard enough!

We ARE NOT called to face every challenge on our own. We ARE called to “Get Tougher”, not merely by OUR own strength, but the strength that comes from our relationship in HIM.

And when a situation like this Monday morning happens, you take the extension on life that you’ve been blessed with, and you use it to invest into the opportunities around you.

Jim! Wake up! What are you going to do with this extra time? You can’t complain! You can’t grumble! Be thankful your heart is beating and beg God for strength to stop wishing things were easier, but GET TOUGHER.”




The Gospel

WOD For Water 2014: Help Us Bring Clean Water To More Than 100 New Villages In India, Africa and Beyond!

Please take a moment to visit my fundraising page:



I am excited to announce that our generous “Friends of Iron Tribe & Neverthirst” have agreed to match your giving up to $150,000! Every dollar you raise helps us bring clean water to villages in India, Cambodia and South Sudan! We don’t want to miss out on this incredible opportunity to receive all of the matching funds.

This is where we need YOU!

We need your help in raising the additional $150,000 so no money is left on the table. Sign up today and get your friends, family, and co-workers to donate and DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT by helping us reach our goal of $300,000!

Simply select your gym to the right of the video and register yourself for the event. Be sure to let us know what gym you’re with so we know which one raises the most. Reminder: this is a donation so it’s tax deductible! Join us on August 23, 2014

Railroad Park

1600 1st Ave South

Birmingham, AL 35233

August 23, 2014 9:00am

**If you’re registering for Walk for Water, just tell us in the note section of the donation box! Thank YOU!

***Rain or Shine***

Create your own fundraising page and ask your friends and family to help us crush our goal. It’s a simple process and has the potential to get a lot of people involved that may not be associated with IronTribe or Neverthirst. We don’t want to see any of the matching funds left on the table!

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What kind of legacy will you leave behind? In this personal and motivating talk, Jim Cavale modifies a tried and true formula for intensity to build the case for living a life of intent, so that we can all leave behind a lasting legacy.

A technologist and entrepreneur of many passions, Jim is the COO at IronTribe Fitness, devoted to scaling the client experience during their rapid franchise growth. http://irontribefitness.com

TEDxBirmingham 2014 – “Rediscover the Magic” – was held on March 1, 2014 at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center in Birmingham, Alabama. 15 speakers plus several artistic performers spread their ideas with cross-disciplinary mix of attendees from the Magic City, ranging from civic and business leaders to professionals, educators, technologists, and artists. TEDxBirmingham — like all TEDx events — is an independent, volunteer effort. It is not organized for political reasons, monetary reward, or personal gain. Everyone associated with TEDxBirmingham does so because they believe in the power of ideas to change the world. http://www.tedxbirmingham.org

This TEDxBirmingham talk is shared with you by Baker Donelson. http://www.bakerdonelson.com

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

You hear it all the time… “I want to change the world!”

But is there a formula behind it? How can you truly make a lasting impact? How can you leave a legacy, if you will, that will change things for others who live on this earth far after you’re gone?

This month’s essay quickly went from a written piece to a video diary. I simply couldn’t capture my thoughts as good in text, as I felt I would be able to on camera.

It’s the first in a series of essays and videos, coming your way in the next few months, on the topic of TIME. It is this topic that will be the centerpiece for my TEDxBirmingham in March 2014, when I am the final speaker at this day long event that will take place at the Alys Stephens Center, on the campus of the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB).

There are several components that make up the beginnings of the formula I share in this video.

Establishing YOUR purpose (Pu) – your ultimate reason for being here on earth, something that you can’t actually finish yourself, but what you hope to do that can live on after you’re long gone.

Creating a vision toward YOUR purpose (Vi) – what has to happen in the next years to come, to be closer toward your purpose before you leave this earth.

YOUR values (Va)  – these are non-negotiables that are at the heartbeat of who you are.

Setting YOUR goals (Go) – without the above, you cannot set goals within the context of what you actually want your life to stand for.

VARIABLE #1: PEOPLE (Pe) – who are you going to make an impact on, through your relationship with them? The more who you affect with your purpose, the more lasting effects you leave on this earth after you’re gone.

VARIBALE #2: TIME (Ti) – neither of us are promised tomorrow, let alone the 80 or so years we all expect to live on this earth. Thus, how can we steward the time we are given, in the wisest way possible?

The formula for maximum INTENTIONALITY is;

(Pu+Vi+Va+Go)Pe / Ti

The Gospel

My Biggest First Quarter Takeaway – There’s Only One Decision.

With the first quarter now behind us, it’s always fun to reflect on goals for the year and truly see where progress has [or has not] occurred!

So this past week, as I ended Q1 2013 in the midst of travel to Cleveland for meetings with Direct Response Marketing Godfather Dan Kennedy, I decided to pull out my weekly journal and reflect on the quarter that was, while regrouping for the days, weeks and months ahead of me.

Why do I set goals and write in my journal each week? Because I don’t know how many days God has even decided that I have left on this earth. Thus, I am committed to making each one count, as a steward of the time and resources He has so undeservedly blessed me with.

For any of you who might be waking up living in the dual role of an entrepreneurial business leader and the head of your household, you are no doubt fighting a daily divide between intensely growing your business, and being the best father-husband combo that you can be.

Yes, I said divide. Because, at least for me, it’s a daily give-and-take for me to stay dedicated to what it takes to grow business while being the most loving father and husband possible. My family needs me and so does my business.

That being said, after meeting or exceeding the majority of my business goals in 2012, I realized I had fallen short in several of those father, husband and son of God areas where I so desperately wanted to grow.

So when I sat down a little more than three months ago, to set my 2013 goals, I made sure that I started with those spiritual and family realms where I had fallen short, and worked on business goals last. Spending time in deep thought, meditation and prayer on that last week of 2012, I really decided to make a commitment to being diligent with my focus on Christ in everything I was setting out to do this year.

From simple things like only reading Gospel-based books during Q1 2013 [versus the usual 2+ business books I read each month], to exchanging weekend hours usually spent watching sports or reading business content, for more hours with my family; I dedicated the first quarter to making a series of intricate changes in my habits, with hopes that it’d make some bigger changes in my overall person.

Ironically, it was a business book that had me focusing on my habits more, as Darren Hardy, the publisher of SUCCESS Magazine, wrote a great book [The Compound Effect] about the philosophy of changing daily habits to create changes in your overall being. One which I was able to apply first-hand during this challenge of discipline that I had commissioned myself to take on wholeheartedly.

And I’m happy to say that the first quarter was quite an improvement in the head-of-household department. But where the “rubber really met the road,” was in my walk with Christ.

While I did decide to continue reading my 11 different business newsletters and magazines that I subscribe to receive each month, I also decided to stay true to my commitment to my Gospel-Based book reading goals. This content, charged together with dedicated scripture meditation in the entire book of Judges, along with Romans 8 and Hebrews 12, lead to some serious freedom in my continuously blessed journey.

I am planning on doing a video blog post later this month, reviewing the six different books I read in Q1 2013 and even sharing some of the goals I’ve set for this year. However, right now, I would like to focus on an intense truth that I have began to focus on more than ever before, during this Q1 journey.

It’s the fact that we must face the truth that there is only one decision for us to make as humans, in regard to our faith [or lack there of] in Christ.

You either believe The Gospel Truth, or you don’t. Period.

While just about every human acknowledges that Jesus was a man who roamed the earth, the decision occurs with a multiple choice answer regarding his time here on earth.

(a) Jesus was a liar and/or a crazy man, and did not actually rise from death three days after being crucified.


(b) Jesus did rise from death after shedding His blood to save us from the sin we are otherwise unable to conquer.

My choice is (b). What’s yours?

I maintain that Christ came to save us by living the life that no one else could live, only to die the death we all deserve to die, not only rising from and defeating death, but also providing us with forgiveness for the sin that we are all so deeply infected with as human beings.

The world we live in today, is not all that different from the idol-worshipping times described in Old Testament books like Judges, where pluralistic beliefs in multiple gods providing multiple paths of salvation, were the norm.

However, if there is only one decision of (a) or (b), then pluralism should be replaced with an actual choice. Something many people simply do not want to hear or actually face.

In His amazing work, The Reason For God, Tim Keller shares a tale of a rabbi, a muslim man, and himself, all visiting a scholarly university in New York, where they did a panel on religion for a large group of students. The only thing that Keller said he and his panel agreed upon was the fact that only one of them could be correct in their assumptions; there is only one decision.

We agreed that “If Christians are right about Jesus being God, then Muslims and Jews fail in a serious way to love God as God really is, but if Muslims and Jews are right that Jesus is not God but rather a teacher or prophet, then Christians fail in a serious way to love God as God really is,” says Keller.

This began a large debate amongst the post-modern, pluralistic audience who felt that this consensus between the three men was an outrage, due to the fact that only one of their doctrines was THE path to salvation. The problem with this is the fact that by ignoring these three doctrines represented by this panel, people are actually creating a doctrine of their own, that they are basing their entire life upon, both the human one here on earth AND the eternal one that will live on forever.

As my pastor [David Platt] has said repeatedly; “if you disagree with me and think that Christ did not die and raise from the grave to save us, you are to pity me for basing my whole life on a lie.”

However, on the other side of the fence, is the notion that with my faith is so strongly embedded in my belief that Christ did indeed come to save us, and that this is the only way to eternal paradise, it would be one of the most hateful things I could do, to keep this faith to myself.

How can I be so selfish to keep a secret to myself? I can’t.

I can’t be a disciple, if I am not a disciple-maker. Can I? David and his colleague Francis Chan (San Francisco) break this down in the following video.

Although I grew up in The Church with The Bible in my hand throughout my childhood, I did not become a Christian until 2009, when I finally turned from myself and my sin, to follow Christ unconditionally with love. But I don’t know that I’ve ever embraced the simplicity that lies in this simple decision that everyone will make, one way or another. And if I haven’t embraced this decision until a few years ago, imagine how many others around me, are walking around today ignoring it as well!

And so, if my decision is clearly that Jesus came here to save us, by shedding His blood and dying on the cross only to raise from death three days later, then I better saddle-up and start being more intentional on sharing it with the vast network of friends, family and colleagues that He has put in my life.

Dedicated to holding myself to it,


You can hold me to it, too – Just click on my name above to email me!


It was based on Psalm 67:1-2: “May God be gracious to us, bless us and make His face shine upon us; that Your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.”

These verses along with several others make it clear that God has blessed us (that includes you) for the purpose of making His name great among the nations. That morning we were asked the question – ‘Have you disconnected God’s blessings from His purpose?’

You can listen to David Platt address this idea right here.

And so we started our journey to answer that question. It didnʼt take long to realize we had missed it.

For most of our Christian lives we were living under the assumption that God had blessed us (materially/spiritually) for our benefit and for our comfort…a Christian spin on the American dream if you will. And as long as we said our prayers, went to church, tithed and lived a normal Christian life, we were good.

But as we traveled, we were awakened by orphans in Ukraine, persecuted brothers in Sudan, and the unreached in India. It was during those times that we knew we were made for more. And so we prayed. And God answered.

It was in 2007 when God made it clear we were going to support and encourage the local church working in the most difficult areas of the world.

In 2008 a friend approached us and said that God had made it clear he was supposed to financially back a ministry we were going to start. And later that year we found ourselves in Sudan praying over children who were dying of diarrhea for one simple reason – they didnʼt have clean water to drink.
Thatʼs how Neverthirst was born.

We knew at that point that God wanted to use Neverthirst to support and encourage the local church through clean water.

This is our story and we want to make it clear that itʼs not about us. We serve a God who desires to awaken a passion for His glory among the nations and we, the church, are privileged to be used in this amazing story. You can be a part of this story by praying, going, advocating or giving – join us.