Its hard to believe, another Summer is nearly over. Time just seems to move along so quickly.
The idea was to get men to come out 3-4 times during the year, Sunday night at 9 p.m. While at these hour and a half meetings, there would be two brief messages and then two discussion times with men in table groups.During these “connecting times”, men were encouraged to be transparent with one another, to let down their guard and be vulnerable. As we did, it was an opportunity to find support, accountability, healing, and encouragement.
IF, the men attended three of the four nights, they were then able to go a men’s Summer event called Palooza. It was designed to be an “over the top” weekend gathering in Michigan. The weekend would be packed with four messages and times of worship, and many, many activity guys would find challenging: events like softball, mud wrestling, free throw shooting, football tosses, and so much more.
I attended last year’s event. No doubt, it was a good time with many positive take-aways from it.
Then came round two during the past nine months, I believe there were four or five late Sunday night events where attendance at four events was required to qualify to attend this past weekend’s second annual Palooza.
Again, there was the same format of quality worship times and intense, competitive events.
And again, for me, there were many highlights that stood out to me from over the weekend.
But what set this apart, was that it wasn’t until the last 15 minutes of this weekend that Pastor James MacDonald said something that sent fireworks off in my brain (we actually had fireworks on Saturday night too!). He laid out a vision for what Act Like Men was all about.
He mentioned that the bar was set so high (in fact, next year, we are going to have seven late Sunday evening gatherings to attend) because he wanted the church to be calling out guys to break away from our addiction to our independence and acting like we are in control of our self. Too often, we have that “I want to do my own thing”.
We ARE responsible for our actions, but guys especially have a habit of acting from their own selfish and independent mindsets, and prone to isolation, so that we need to go radical and be challenged to a higher calling. Guys, we need to be involved in community.
I saw it!
I finally realized what I had been missing. It was the importance, rather the need of guys (WITH ME BEING RIGHT THERE AT THE TOP OF THE LIST) to do life together and encouraging, supporting, praying for, and holding other guys accountable. It was a matter of being a part of a community where we can not only receive the support and care from other guys, but also give it as well.
I had been experiencing that throughout the weekend, but was oblivious to what I was actually experiencing. I was missing the intentionality of it all.
But again, now I understood it.
I am so excited to be a part of a sea of voices, a band of Christian brothers intent on glorifying God by the way we live during this short time we are on this planet.
I just wanted to be transparent and let you all know what God was doing in my life and encourage each person out there, especially guys to get involved with a group like this, if you are not already.
These are some notes I took from David and Jason Benham’s book, “Whatever the Cost”:
“- If you ask us to boil down all the lessons we learned in professional baseball to a simple word, we’d say Identity. It was easy to get caught up in the identity of being a professional athlete. We learned that if you are defined by what you do, then your success or failure at what you do will dictate your self-worth. If you fail, then in your mind you’re a failure. yet nothing could be further from the truth. Its impossible to die to a dream when it defines you.
-One of the biggest dangers for men is to find their identities in what they do as opposed to who they are. When what you do defines you, then your career longings will naturally pull you away from God and from those He’s given to your care. But as Christians we can rest in the fact that we are not defined by the jobs we hold in our hands- we are defined by the One who holds us in His hand.”
What is the place of work in your mind and where do you look to find your self-worth?