Monday, April 28, 2008

Men's Retreat 08

Thoughts on the Men’s Retreat 08

Friday Night
* Community exists and is Biblical when lives are being transformed into the image of Christ in ways that glorify God and give witness of the gospel to the world. In other words, community involves sanctification, glorification, and evangelism.
* Community is not small groups. Connectedness is not the same as community. And Bible study does not equal community.
* The Trinity reflects the community God desires for His people and in fact, God has invited us in to the mutual love and servant hood that exists in the Godhead.
* Therefore, tolerating disunity in the body of Christ is to dishonor the nature of God. God exists in community and therefore any believer not in community is an orphan. All this being said, community in a fallen world is a mess as we all battle the influence of the sin nature and expose the sin in our lives.
* The compelling components of community include spending intentional time together, living in the light, Biblical conflict resolution, initiate and respond to crisis, external focus of sharing the good news with those outside of the community.

Saturday Morning 1
* As a man, I am called to reject passivity where I fail not because of what I do but because of what I don’t do. This tendency is reflected as early as the Garden of Eden.
* As a man, I must accept responsibility. God has given me roles to play as a husband, a father, a friend, etc. I must be diligent to steward these well through the power of Christ living in me.
* As a man, I must lead courageously. Not in a domineering or disrespectful manner. But as one who has pursued Christ and is following Him faithfully.
* As a man, I must expect God’s reward. In other words, I should live in light of eternity.
* This question was significant for me: What do I get angry about (particularly in my family)? Is it because God’s best is not happening or because I am not getting what I want?
* Deut 11:18 is the model of what I should do as a Dad in teaching the Word to my children. I should strive to know their hearts and train them to love God in their own unique personality and protect them in their inherent weaknesses. I should be careful of my tendency to be critical and expect my idea of perfection in their life but should gently and intentionally teach them how to be a faithful follower of Christ.
* To be a good husband, father, friend, worker is not the goal. In fact, to do any of these things for personal benefit apart from honoring Christ is idolatry.

Saturday Morning 2
* How I spend my dash (the line between birth and death on my tombstone) is of utmost importance. I want to hit the tape running and finishing well. To do so, I must be faithful to be in God’s Word, practice the presence of God through constant prayer, live in community and consistently serve others.
* Plans fail with lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed. Growth takes place better in a circle (with many advisors) than it does in a line (seeking individual input only).
* I desire to be a man of prayer, who after 25 years, is still praying for the salvation of the same people who have not trusted Christ.

Sunday Morning
* Lessons learned from a life well lived
1. Be with Jesus – This is the anchor of my soul and should be the passion of my life (Ps. 73, Ps. 27:4, Luke 10:38-42)
2. Relationships Matter – I must be intentional in my pursuit of knowing and being known. The goal is transformation into the image of Christ, for His glory and for the evangelism of the world.
3. Being is more important than doing – In other words, who you are is more important than what we do.
4. Doing is important – We should seek to make a difference by the power of Christ in submission to the Holy Spirit.


  1. Todd and Men of MPC...
    I appreciate your comments and thoughts about the weekend. The truth that was revealed this weekend was incredible and has peeled back some layers for me. Each of us have taken away some areas that we desire to "take ground." As I mentioned at the retreat, I have realized that any ground I take is ground that has been taken through urging of and empowerment through the Holy Spirit. I am not the one who takes ground...but I must respond obediently to God's commanded will (that which I am called to obey through scripture and prayer) and trust his sovereign will (that which I don't understand and can't comprehend). He is in control and I am to be available.

    I will passionately pursue people (my wife, kids, friends) through the power of the Holy Spirit!

    Thanks in advance for your prayers on my behalf. I am praying for you guys as well.
    In Him,

  2. Todd and Men of MPC,

    Thank you so much for a powerful and uncomfortable weekend. I was introduced to "uncomfortable" as I slept in beautiful mountainous surroundings, air conditioned rooms, private showers and served meals. But God's conviction on my life made me uncomfortable, shifting in my seat during the sessions, with each passing moment, a deeper realization that I have not put God's will first in my life.
    I fidgeted and turned in my chair, as Kyle talked of community and transparency among my fellow christian brothers, and even thought at times that the concept seemed a bit radical as a way to achieve sanctification, glorification, and evangelism. Now I know, it is the ONLY way.
    I knew, maybe by Gods hand on my life, that by joining Melonie Park would not be a fluffy walk in the clouds, and singing on Sunday Morning. It would be bringing on the the victories and defeats of the church family that I was becoming a part of, and letting them into my private, and sinful world, and exposing myself to them, and becoming vulnerable to their righteous examination.
    The retreat has taught me to desire a prayer life. My prayer life does not exist really. I am not really good at finding my voice when I talk to God. But I will find it, and if not, let me die trying. I have asked Todd to pray with me in private, I have held on to my Mens Group and prayed with them, desperately trying to create a habit that I want to perfect like Jim Wimberley. I want to pray with my wife in the morning, I want to pray during the day, I want to attack the things that bring me into temptation with the assault of relentless prayer. But in the past few months, God would be lucky to hear from me in my little prayers with Abby as I am tucking her in.
    The retreat has helped me know that I can never find true help with a problem without consulting God and his word first, in prayer, for days at a time. Then I can go to others for help after that.

    I have learned that my marriage buckets are no where near full. Kyle was having trouble with his 10th bucket, I cant seem to find my first bucket. Teresa and I will strive to fill our buckets with a Godly marriage, and spending intentional time together in prayer, so then we can begin to contribute to the compelling components of community with other families and church members.

    I am so thankful for Todd and Kerry and Jobe and Shane and the men that I have become so close to, that they have lead me to this place which is so far above where I was, but so far below where I need to be....

    God Bless all of the men at Melonie Park..and no matter what..please get me away from the Rail Baron game...hahaha

    In his grace...


  3. I think I might have had more fun being struck about the head with a 2x4 (maybe that's what I need). Don't get me wrong, I am certainly glad I made it to the retreat. The process is painful when living in sin whether deliberate or unintentional, yet it's the end product we're striving for. I surely do despise the process though...

  4. Clint
    BTW - I am praying for your exams this week. I am glad you took time out for the retreat amidst your study time. I trust that God will give you good focus for your remaining study. Press on my brother.

  5. Mr. Todd...

    Thanks for jumping off the cliff and giving your thoughts and asking for others thoughts on the w/e, the church and where we are headed as individuals and as a body. That took a lot of guts, and I'm not sure you knew what you were getting into, but looking back, it was one of my favorite parts of the whole weekend. I'm excited about where we are headed as a church, and am looking forward to watching God as he "Stirs the water" and shapes us into the individuals and the body that He wants us to be! Brad.