An unexpected weekend with the MEN…
2 weeks ago I was sitting in the middle of a barren September. Barren months come every once in awhile and I never like them; August, December, and May are my typical barren months. It’s kinda a rhythm of my occupation. [ By barren I mean no “business”… no speaking / preaching engagements. ] These barren times are always hard months because when I am not on the road I am not getting paid and beside that I get board (sometime) because I LOVE being on the road and sharing what I am learning and what I am passionate about.
So yea, September has been a barren month this year, until last Thursday. Last Thursday I received a phone call from a pastor I know a little here in Southern California. He says, “Erik, I might have a speaking engagement for you.” And sure enough, the speaker (Rick Riggsby — you might have heard about him, he’s speaks on pretty big scale) he had to cancel on this pastor for the Southern California District Men’s Retreat, help up on Big Bear mountain.
So the group went from a big black guy who tell’s some sweet stories to a skinny (well not to skinny - I don’t want to lie to myself or you - but in comparison skinny) skinny white kid who probably doesn’t have enough life under his belt to have really sweet stories yet. Literally they went from one spectrum to the other on the speaker scale. It made me a bit nervous to be honest, I could feel the expectation, at least I thought I could feel it.
But with all that said God moved, he answered prayers, spoke into our lives, moved our hearts and mind to new places, He did his thing. It was an AWESOME weekend.
I recieved lots of good feedback from the men but more than that I sensed that God was working and changing lives. I was inspired to be a greater man who seeks God more by watching men seeking God. I think this is part of the beauty of community.
I think I was a pretty unconventional men’s retreat speaker as well. I didn’t tell the fellas to find a women and capture her, slinging her over their shoulder as they moved in battle with a sword in their hand and a bible in the other. I told them to embrace God’s design for their lives, to be a dancer or poet like David, who was also a warrior and king. I told them the last day to become a butterfly (an illustration of the living out resurrection) and I did this in part by reading them a children’s book. Yea, not your typical men’s retreat topic or method but for me I felt like I was being faithful to God and I think that was obvious as His words fell fresh on hearts and minds.
For me the thrust of the weekend was teaching us men to stop earning and simply embrace God’s grace. Receiving this free gift and then living it out as revolutionary followers of Jesus Christ. ALL of life will flow from our intimate relationship with Jesus, that I am confident in and that is what I thought!
Over all it was a great weekend and I look forward to the next opportunity I have to spend with 250 - 300 hundred hungry men!
It was awesome!!!
Shalom (the goal)