Unpacking the Actlikemen Conference, part 1 of 3 (or more)

actlikemen_iconThis past weekend 12,600 + volunteers went to Indianapolis, Indiana to attend the third of three Act Like Men Conferences (2 in the US and 1 in Canada).  Lance and I met down there on Friday night and his son blessed us with his presence as well.  I am so thankful for all the men that accompanied me this past weekend.   I am thankful for Lance and his son serving this weekend as we sponsored the event.  I am so thankful for the men of God that brought the truth to us in an incredibly short amount of time with such a large plethora of God's words and teaching to unpack during the conference.  My head is still reeling from this event.  Actually, Lance and I several years ago talked about a men's event that we wanted to do, called "Man Up".  I think these men stole our idea or at least a lot of LegacyDad material (JUST KIDDING).  These men speak truth and these men speak from the same authority that we speak on - the Holy Bible.  The Spirit within us and having brothers and our wives holding us accountable. All of this being said, a few things that really struck home for me (personally):

  • A man, who is bored and with a lot of energy at home is VERY DANGEROUS
  • An unguarded strength is a double weakness
  • We all do not need a manual, rather IMMANUEL
  • Un-repented sin in our lives is like a lion that we keep hidden (an average lion can move 100 yards in 3 seconds) so be careful trying to entertain sin and trying to worship God

As a husband, a dad, a full-time worker, an Elder and a leader of men's ministry - I have a lot on my plate.  I continually check myself at the door of humility and try to remember my priorities:  God, Family, Church, Work, Friends and Community.  I don't always get this order right and I often fail even when I do.  However, I have brothers in my life who speak brutal truth in my life.  I have brothers (in Christ) who love me and do not judge me.  I have brothers who encourage, comfort and urge me to live a life worthy of God.  I call these brothers of mine - Men of Faith (which is also the name of our Men's Group at church).  I walked away from this confident feeling both happy and sad at the same time.  For the sad, I realized just how many at this conference do not have what we have in Men of Faith.  I felt sad because so many men (even in our church) miss the blessing of accountability and confession in men's groups.  I also felt sad in realizing just how many men need this but do not take the time to put this very thing into practice in their lives.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (NIV) we read, "11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory."  This is so important not only in ministry but in everyday life.  Often we find this sort of thing counter-cultural in that the world tells us to believe the "Lone Wolf McQuaid" way of life in which we can do this on our own.  This is exactly what the devil and his minions want from us - to be isolated and alone wallowing in our own sinful lives.  If we took it to God's way then we would turn to Galatians 6 and read the following, "6 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

An unguarded strength is a double weakness - this has so many avenues attached to it - being overwhelmed at home, at work, at church, in the community, with our friends.....a simple way to put this is to say by just living life we can act1cor1613forget to be in the word daily.  To pray continuously.  To have accountability and to confess our sins to others.  We are not telling you to confess to a priest or to have a man forgive us, quite the contrary.  Rather, by confessing out loud, then we no longer have that sin in the darkness like a lion in our dark closet.  We bring it into the light (to our brothers) and we give others permission to hold us accountable to and to take a proverbial "2x4" to us when we are not walking the right path (in love not in anger).  And by bringing this to the light, we have repentance to God the Father through his son Jesus Christ giving honor to the Triune God who will be pleased with our repentance.  When I am tired, fatigued, worked over by work, co-workers, family and friends (so much to do with so little time - come on - we all have those weeks) I find myself being un-guarded.  As I looked at my journal when I got home, I could see the pattern of being ill-prepared in spiritual warfare and falling/failing to daily jaunts of temptation and the like.   Sometimes, when this occurs, my strengths become a double weakness - this was a very good lesson for me to hear this past weekend.

There is so much more to say.  The next few posts will focus on:

  • The hidden lion in our lives
  • A bored man in my house
  • What's your excuse, man up...

Looking forward to hearing from you?  Who else was there?  Let Lance and I know what you want to hear...email me here:

Blessings,

Dante