Saturday, 1 October 2011

C3 Men Conference - Deeper - Friday Night

Deeper – C3 Men Conference

My church, C3 Church organised a Men’s conference this weekend with the theme Deeper and it had as guest speakers Pastor Greg French, Pastor Nick Klinkenberg and the host Pastor Steven Warren.

Pastor Greg French heads up a ministry of interacting and ministering to men as fathers, husbands, sons, workers and ultimately Christians under the umbrella term Real Men.

Courtesy of a brother, my attendance was paid for and another brother offered to give me a ride to the venue which was at Naarderbos Golf Course bordering the amazingly beautiful Gooise Meer lake.

The deep things

On Friday night, after a time of intense worship where men bonded in unity of purpose and spirit were gathered, there were prayers, exhortations and introductions.

Pastor Greg French began his message on the subject of running the Christian race and finishing well.

His first scriptural reference came from (Psa 42:7 KJV) Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

(Psa 42:7 NKJV) Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.

This he interpreted as the deep things of God calling on the deep things in the heart of man.

Referring the introductory exhortation, he then said David came to terms with his humanity but he needed Nathan the prophet to bring him to that realisation.

The race

The core references for the evening however came from.

(1Co 9:24 KJV) Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

Contrasting the concept of knowing with that of just being aware, we needed to know we in a race with the purpose of winning the prize and the ability to excel will only come from allowing God to do what we allow Him to do in our lives.

(1Co 9:25 GNB) Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last forever.

Still on the subject of entering a race to win, there is a regimen involved in the decision to participate in a race with the crown being the people we have by reason of our Christian living are able to impact all around us.

(1Co 9:26-27 KJV) I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Our race has to be purposeful, it has to have a goal and the example our life presents is dependent on the discipline and discipleship we subject ourselves to so that those to whom we stand as role models will see us as such - It is why we need people speaking into our lives to ensure we retain our focus.

(1Co 9:27 NKJV) But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

With this version of the last verse, the message developed towards not being disqualified from one’s purpose and how to ensure one’s purpose is fulfillied.

Disqualified from one's purpose

Pastor French when delved into how we appear to be purposeful in creating resolutions and then fail to realise our good intentions with the striking statement, “We waste our lives by making statements that we do not follow through.”

How to be resolved

With that, he used the following scriptural references to help us understand how to be resolved, resolute, run the race and win the prize.

(Heb 12:1-2 NKJV) Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

He inferred that whilst there was a great sense of security by reason of the cloud of witnesses mostly assumed to be angelic, men needed other men as witnesses, supporters, admonishers, confidants and people who enthuse in helping to run with endurance the race that is set before us.

Our persuasion

In context, he noted that Jesus decided to be bigger than the problem before him to achieve the success ahead of him and it behoves us to appreciate that we are resourced to be bigger than the problems that surround us to be to successful.

With this, he indicated we need to be focused, then used the story of a fit woman piling on weights to reflect the problems of being overweight to an almost morbidly obese person showing who unnecessary weights burdens impact a person’s ability and agility.

When you carry what you should not be carrying, it ages you.

Lay aside

The admonition to “Lay aside every weight” is made in the context that it is my choice to do the laying aside as well as understanding that when temptation comes, we do have the power to overcome temptation.

Those two verses were weighty in their import as he told a personal story about how he mistakenly donated his wife’s best clothes in a mix-up during a house move that ended in the moral - Think before you act – a good few of us could relate.

In reading the other verses, a number of points were developed.

(Heb 12:3-6 NKJV) For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "MY SON, DO NOT DESPISE THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD, NOR BE DISCOURAGED WHEN YOU ARE REBUKED BY HIM; FOR WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE CHASTENS, AND SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES."

Lay aside – According to the Macquarie dictionary employed a definition that ran similar to – Laying aside every aside that impedes our focus and progress.

The extended lesson to thinking before acting was that “Impulsive actions can be costly.”

Consider what is to keep and what to discard.

We men have a tendency to hoard and hence keep things we do not need, giving the example of a friend who had over 20 claw hammers, this friend seemed to have a story pertaining to each hammer but for practical purposes there was no reason to have more than one claw hammer.

By hoarding the unnecessary we tend to keep the things that clutter up our lives.

The stories, anecdotes and analogies he gave wove into each other offering useful snippets of advice and admonition.

Be decisive.

We need to stop hanging on to things that are unnecessary, however, that requires we be decisive and in being decisive discipline brings results.

The thought of discipline appears to indicate hardship but he said, “Discipline brings freedom to the undisciplined.” Discipline should not be seen as a restriction but the introduction of order and structure.

We must make the right the decisions; get one principle and act upon it.

Lay aside every sin.

The longing prayer of man should be - God give me the power to act and be strengthened against the things that easily befall me.

Perseverance is linked to endurance, God strengthens us to run with endurance.

Closing

At the end of an hour long message, we closed with prayer and a moving testimony as to how a brother agonised, prayed, cried and dared in the quest for a wife and how his prayer got answered.

It was an evening that allowed for the brotherhood of Christian men to offer meaningful and strengthening messages to each other for the purpose of being real men to ourselves, our families and communities at large.

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