Last week I wrote about the upcoming Promise Keepers Conference in Tulsa that I was going to attend with my two step sons. Today I can talk about our experience together. I was very blessed that both of the young men were very positive about coming with me. I thanked them numerous times for coming with me and noting the sacrifice they were making from their social time and time away from college work, etc.This was their Friday night that they could have spent with friends and their Saturday that they could have slept in, but instead spent both with their step dad and 3000 other men hearing various Godly men talk about some really deep issues that men need to be hear about.
Here is a little of what they got to experience: On Friday night after the first speaker, a former NFL football player now pastor of a church, was done speaking, over 250 men prayed to receive Christ. There was excellent praise and worship music by the lead singer of Salvador, Nic Gonzales and the Onebody Band(all men). We then got to hear another great speaker, who is also a pastor and former NFL football player. Jeremy Camp then came on to end the night with an outstanding time of praise and worship. We didn't get home til after 11pm.
Over 30 men from our church also attended and many brought their sons with them, which was very cool to see and to be experiencing it with them as well!
The boys and I were up and out the door by 7:30am Saturday with a promise from me to stop at Starbucks so they might get a little "wake up" energy.
Saturday was filled with more speakers, more praise and worship, but was also a little more intense and personal. Three topics specifically that were "get your attention" type topics. The first speaker talked on the subject of pornography. Following that message many men came down front to ask for prayer regarding the pornography bondage they were in and to have that evil bond broken.
Another speaker talked about racism and this was a very powerful moment when he asked all of the white men in the room to stand who have been hurt by a black man. (the speaker was a black man). Then the speaker, got down on his knees on the stage and very emotional, asked for their forgiveness. Then he asked the black men standing near any of those white men to go over and to pray with them as we prayed together as a group for forgiveness and reconciliation.Then out from the crowd came a voice saying "what about the black men?" The voice came from a white man. Then he asked all of the men of Jewish decent, African American decent, Indian decent, Hispanic decent, Asian decent and any other race not mentioned to stand and then he asked white men to pray for them as we prayed together for the same forgiveness and reconciliation. This was an amazingly powerful moment in my eyes.
The next speaker talked about men taking responsibility of their families. He gave an example of himself when he had young children. His daughter brought him a picture of their family, but it didn't include him. So, he asked his daughter where was daddy in the picture. And she said, you are at work. This got his attention and for the next two years he was determined to not be absent from his family and to become the father and husband he needed to be and that God had intended for him to be for his family. Later, he talked about when he was speaking at another past Promise Keepers conference and he talked about having his wife come on stage. Asking her forgiveness for not being the husband and father he should have been, he knelt down and washed her feet in front of 27,000 men. The next week he gets a phone call from a guy who told him he was at that Promise Keepers conference. He told him that he just sent him a video. He wanted him to watch it and then to give him a call.
The same speaker then played that video for all of us to see. It showed a man on Fathers Day with his family in their living room together. The man asked his family for their forgiveness and then he washed each ones feet and as he washed them he talked about the things that he was thankful for in them, beginning with his wife, then his two grown daughters, then his grandchildren and then asked them to forgive him for the times he hadn't been the best dad or grandfather. This again was another very powerful moment. I struggled to watch the video without totally crying my eyes out, so much so, that I felt myself shaking from holding it in. It was very emotional to see and to "feel" in the moment.
There is something very powerful that happens when men gather together to worship God. Proverbs 27:17 says "Iron sharpens Iron, and one man sharpens another."
In John 15:5 Jesus says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me."
I was SO blessed to get to experience the conference with my sons. I never got to experience something like that with my dad. I experienced my first Promise Keepers conference back in the 90s with men from my church that I barely knew. I was a brand new, born again, 28 year old Christian, at the time. I don't have a relationship with any of those men today, since I have moved to two different cities since that time. That was almost 20 years ago.
Now, I was able to talk(Faith Walk discussions) with them about their experience a little and am looking forward to times in the future when we can look back at this past weekend and talk(Faith Walk discussions) more about what it meant to both of them.
"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15