Sunday, March 27

Man of Valor

“On that day it will be said, ‘Look, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He has saved us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him. Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.’ For the Lord’s power will rest on this mountain.” Isaiah 25:9-10 HCASB

The verses before speak of the “Feast of the Father” as labeled by Timothy Keller in his book, Prodigal God, which I have spent the last few months going through with some brothers I’ve joined on Wednesday nights at Knox Presbyterian Church in A2…just up the street from my home in the Orchard Grove Community. Though the feast is of great importance to us, all of us, as believers, it is the following two verses immediately after that seemed to hit me after this weekend experience.

Because of the generosity of a brother in the group, whom I shall probably never know, I was able to attend a 24-hour seminar with the larger community of Knox men at a Retreat at Camp FoHoLo (Faith, Love, Hope) in Grass Lake Michigan. It is the Knox Men’s annual retreat, dating back to I believe 1996.

One of the greatest sorrows in my life has always been the lost of the community of men that I have been blessed to be in fellowship out in Troy, the M3 and Able Men under the leadership of Scott Engleman. When we moved out to A2, I left that community which had become further physical and spiritually from me in hopes of finding another with the same fellowship and impact that had shaped me into a man questing after God. I haven’t been blessed to be immersed into such fellowship, though I have a good ‘communal’ relationship with Mosaic’s Men’s Fraternity group and have come to cherish the time with the group under the leadership of Lewis Clark at Knox’s Wednesday night. I even appreciate the fellowship of several ‘long-distance’ brothers whom I have shared a cyber connection to in several online communities.

In this season, where God seems to be waiting upon me to take up the mantle of what He has purposed and called me to, such loss of deep committed fellowship is less than problematic as it is dangerous. A mentor once told me that I would know when God was truly prompting me to go when I started ‘gathering’ a team to hold me accountable, edify the call and ensure support (spiritual) in the path ahead. To ‘jump the gun’ and charge in would be to invite human fragility to become the dangerous ingredient and ultimate reason for my demise.

Bowery this year left me very unsettled, because I saw what God can do and the difference of my obedience and my disobedience to the purpose. I also recognized ‘key’ players in my life; some that were even unaware of such designations and probably never will know. I recognized too, in a renewed sense of clarity, the realization that my call did not support my ‘desire’ to fix the church that has gone off mission in several regards but rather, focus on the purposed calling of my anointing and leave the church renewal to those who have been so purposed by God to do so.

Pastor Chuck, the Lead Pastor of Knox, talked about Gideon…that ‘weakest of the weakest’ warrior who led 300 against 135,000 and saw victory. We all know of this little man of Manasseh told in the pages of Judges 6-8. I’ve written about Gideon as well, . But, as I have discovered in my years since I’ve answered that still small voice’s question that overturned my soul, God works in layers of His Word, helping us discover in the same passages new meanings for the seasons of our life here on this world. And Pastor Chuck brought this hero alive once more. And God challenged me to accept His vision of who I am even as I struggle to believe its truth.

Gideon, weakest of the weakest, was a little man who was hiding in a winepress trying to ‘eek’ out a living in an oppressed land. And the Angel of the Lord came to him and called him a “mighty man of valor.” Gideon signed on for the mission and immediately engaged in it. At the end, in chapter 8 of Judges, it is interesting to see how the defeated and captured Kings of Midan told him he …..”resembled a son of a king.” From the weakest of the weakest to a son of a king.

Being a man of valor doesn’t mean we have some exceptional skills or opportunity. We don’t have to be Upper class or even middle class. We can be the poorest of the poor and weakest of the weak and yet, when we step into the mission purpose that God has given us….putting on the armor and protection of our King……..mighty deeds are done through the strength He’s given us by the Spirit.

And I saw a lot of Gideons at the Knox Men’s Retreat yesterday……..mighty men of valor!

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