It’s been nearly a month since we returned from our first men’s weekend, The Anvil. If you did not see my last post, this was a retreat designed and modeled after John Eldredge’s, Wild at Heart. For this weekend, 18 men, most from my local church, took a risk to step away from life and into the wilderness for 4 days. If you knew about my personality and demeanor, you will note that I am planner. My preparation for something like this is fairly detailed. I want to makes sure that things go as smoothly as planned. I spent a lot of time writing content and working with my other leads to ensure we were on the same page and getting everything organized.
Regarding the overall format of the weekend, we stayed to the schedule well. For me that’s a win in itself. What God showed me on the first night, however was that none of us were in any control of what was going on. God showed up in a big way for the men that attended and for myself and the leads. He threw us for a loop late into the first night, that’s all I will say. Friday morning, while in prayer before we got going, the one thing I heard from God was, “When are you going to remember that you’re not in control?” It was a very direct question and it kept being repeated.
With that, I had to reset. I had to let go of all control and allow Him to work. He thwarted me again that morning when the power went out in the main room before the first session began. “Okay, okay, God…I hear you,” I’m thinking. It was time to let go.
Friday afternoon, the men went rafting down the Chattooga River. Many for the first time, including me. What a holy time that was. The time spent on the river, surrounded by so much untouched beauty was amazing and the the bonding and connections that happened with the men, working together to get down river, was beyond expectations. I remember at one point, when we stopped on the river for lunch. I stepped away for a minute looked over whole group and so much joy filled my heart. I told the men that evening, if I was that joyous, I can only imagine the joy that God felt. As Hardy Greeves says in The Legend of Bagger Vance, “They say God is happiest when His children are at play.” I certainly think He had to have been all smiles that day and that weekend.
The rest of that weekend was beyond any words I can describe. The breakthrough that took place in many men was immense. Men were able to open up parts of their lives that they had not even thought about. It was a truly holy time. The evenings by the fire pit some great fellowship and bonding was created over conversation and cigars.
To say this was a successful weekend would be an understatement and to add to that, I take no credit for it. This was entirely God inspired and God executed. He took control the first night. Thwarted me when He needed to and which gave Him more room to work. I told many people that God grew me up in ways that couldn’t have been imagined in those 4 days.
Our God is truly amazing. He is an awesome God. He has full control. With all He did in me and many other men in this first weekend, I stand in eager anticipation of our next boot camp and expectation of His goodness.
That weekend changed 18 men for the remainder of their lives. Most of them Christian for a number years, but were very unsure of what true Brotherhood looked like. Now when they greet one another in church or elsewhere, their eyes dance, their spirit soars, they have a powerful shared experience that cannot be defined in words. God had His Way collectively and individually in each man’s heart, what a blessing and what an honor to be part of what He did that Weekend.