Here we go again! The Awakening 2018 National Men's Conference is here!
Can it really be that it's been two years since The Awakening 2016? Well, not quite, but that's beside the point. We're here, we're on fire for God and we're doing what Jesus Christ commanded us to do:
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19 (NIV)
Okay, I know that some of you are here for the first time, and the rest of us will forgive you for that, so let me take a few lines to tell you all just what this conference is all about. If I had to describe what we hope to accomplish during our limited time together in one word, that word would be fellowship. We, Christian men, were never meant to walk this walk alone, and it makes little difference if you're married, or have a girlfriend that you can share your life experiences with. There are just some things that you can't talk to your significant other about.
Think I'm wrong? Well, how about that porn site that you stumbled onto when no one was around, and you lingered a bit longer than you should have? What about the woman in your workplace that you watch with anticipation to walk past your desk and your mind wanders to places where you really shouldn't go?
That's what I thought. There are some things you need another man, and not just any man, to share things like that with. Why not “just any man”? Because you also need a man who will firmly, but with love and compassion, hold you accountable for the things that you struggle with.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
But that's not all. Fellowship is one of the most important ingredients in the recipe for the sharing the Word of God. We all get discouraged, distracted and downright tired with all the things that we're responsible for in our daily lives, and it's hard for anyone … including you pastors out there … to stay inspired, especially in this day and age.
“The times, they are a'changin'.”
“A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” Proverbs 22:3 (NIV)
I don't need to tell you that all you need to do is look around to see how different the world has become in the past couple of generations, and I'm not going to take the time to explain the obvious to you now. But whether we're living in the end times, or simply in a world that's changing so rapidly that it's nearly impossible to keep up, we, Christian men, have the responsibility to keep the focus on the Word. After all, if not us, then who?
At the church where I am a member, we have what we call “Halftime”. It's our Wednesday evening men's Bible study. To borrow a term that's popular with today's youth, Halftime is a real “safe space” where we gather to pray, to study God's Word and fellowship with our brothers in Christ. But it's more than that. It's a time when we can, without fear or reservation, share those things that weigh heavily, and very often overwhelmingly, on us. It's a place where we can— pardon the term— “vomit” all of life's troubles out on the floor and have it sifted through by men who care and, more importantly, can in some cases even relate to. Chances are, if you have a problem, no matter how dire it may seem, there are men who have experienced something similar and can offer advice and comfort through prayerful counsel. But it only works because anonymity and confidentiality are strictly adhered to. Do you have a time and place where you can feel comfortable enough to do that? If so, share what you have with others. If not, seek out one of The Awakening event staff— the guys with the different colored shirts— and they will help you find a place where you can feel that same love of Jesus that I feel at Halftime, and believe me, if an introvert like me can find it, so can you. Trust me, we haven't cornered the market. Jesus' love is infinite. It may just take some out-of-the-box thinking to make it happen in your corner of the world.
Here's a question for you: When's the last time that you shared your testimony with anyone? Isn't your testimony important to you? Don't you think that it's worth sharing? Isn't it the reason that you're a Christian— a follower of Jesus Christ? The fact of the matter is that it's critically important that you share your personal testimony with others, especially the younger people in your life, because I guarantee that it will inspire them, it will embolden them, and it might just give them the encouragement that they need to share their testimony with someone else.
Here's another question: Do you have a testimony to give? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Do you have a personal relationship with Him? Do you know … that you know … that you know, beyond all doubt, where you will spend eternity when you leave this world? If you've answered no to any of these questions, isn't it time for you to find out the truth? There is only one truth. The only way that you will find salvation and eternal life in Heaven is by acknowledging that you are a sinner, accepting Jesus sacrifice on the cross as atonement for your sins through grace, following His Word and obeying his command— to go forth and share it with the world.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
This is the place! Now is the time! The battle is on!
Ephesians 6:10-18 and 2 Chronicles 7:14.
G. J. Fortier is a member of Ironmen Ministries and First Baptist Church, Centerville, GA. Look for his novels on Amazon on Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.GerardFortier.com