Men’s Conference is hands down one of the most pivotal events that we do each year.
However, while it is described as an event, I would more describe it as an experience. Because from start to finish there is something that you are experiencing with the Holy Spirit and your fellow brothers in Christ.
You see, I think it is found in the getting away that provides the clarity and the room for God to move and transform.
Oftentimes as men, it’s not that we don’t have the physical energy or the emotional capacity to overcome the mundane. But where we fall short is that we have replaced our dependency on God to handling all the responsibilities of life on our own.
More than likely as you’ve aged, you have taken on more responsibility as a man. This is a very good thing. Clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson has actually been quoted that having children is “what grows you up as a man.” A lot of times though, it is the weight of responsibility at work, the suppression of true emotion, and the expression of passionate fun that we’ve handed over for a cheap imitation. Well, as I am sure you’ve expected: I’ve got news for you.
While your situation may or may not be able to change, the man on the inside of you that you know has been there all along can STILL be forged to be equipped, empowered, and sent by God. And what better place to do it than in an atmosphere where humility is present and everyone can actually see the burdens you carry. Where you are “allowed” to be competitive again and don’t have to just be politically correct for fear of offending the wrong person. And what better place to seek the King of Kings than around a bunch of other fallen, burdened sinners in need of a Savior, just like you.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (ESV)
When you arrive at Men’s Conference, it is a level playing field, filled with a bunch of men who know they are called to more than they currently see and are seeking a transformation that can only come through the person of Jesus. Here’s what I have found to be true in my own life:
My transformation is very much dependent upon the environment in which I am planted.
Now, before I add some additional thoughts, let me challenge you and say this: You can be in the right place at the right time and be serving yourself rather than serving God. Seeking only what you desire rather than having the humility to let God do His thing. If we can all show up to Conference with that level of humility, where we are saying, “It will not be done in our own strength, but is His”…then we are in for some powerful, God-encounters!
All I am saying is this: You are intentionally placing yourself in an environment that is surrounded by men who are hungry for God. Even though within the first day of arriving, everyone is going to be sizing each other up and talking about things like score, point total, or upcoming events. Those things matter and don’t matter all at the same time. They are not the prize. The prize is Jesus. And Jesus brings transformation. Our Lead Pastor, Eli Nelson, says it all the time that he sees a church where dry bones come to life in Christ. That if you’ve let your God-dream die, there is still time for God to revive and resurrect that.
“‘Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.’” Ezekiel 37:4-6 (NIV)
Part of the equation is getting yourself in the environment. The other part is showing up with the intention of being fully present.
If you can allow yourself to be fully present, there is such an opportunity to connect with God and other great men. Because if we are present, we are embracing the environment we’ve been placed in. Being present is not comparing to how it was last year. Being present is not thinking only about all the outside factors of camp (sleeping situation, cell phone service, 95+ degree temperatures, etc.) and using them as a reason to disengage from the moment God has you in. Being present is going to battle with your tribesmen in the physical and in the spiritual. Being present is creating space in your heart to clearly hear the voice of God and to allow His Word to imprint your heart.
There’s nothing greater in my opinion than having gone through something grueling and tough with a brother and having something to show for it. Men’s Conference is exactly that. And men (or ladies if you’re reading this and thinking of a loved one), it is no longer the time to shrink back. It is no longer the time to be too cool or too busy than to literally go play outside for a couple days like you did when you were a kid. Want to be a kid again? Want to have memories to reminisce with friends that will last a lifetime? Want to be on fire for Jesus like when you first recognized His hand over your life?
Well, start packing. Bus leaves next Thursday. See you there.
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