Back on October 17 & 18, Chris Singerline and I got to go to the SouthEast Vineyard men’s retreat put together by the Franklin, TN Vineyard and attended by men from Vineyard churches in several surrounding states at the beautiful Deer Run Retreat. This retreat is a non profit Christian facility outside of Franklin, TN, a very beautiful place to be and the facilities were really nice and well thought out (such as having a cabin with sixteen beds where the walls are lined in cedar, if you have ever been in close quarters with fifteen other guys you will understand the genius of cedar walls!).
The two day event was built around three worship, prayer and teaching sessions including a great fire session Friday night, and even a Wiffle ball game. This was my first introduction to other Vineyard men outside of Canvas and Maryville Vineyard, and I have to say that I was immediately impressed by the strength and faith of the fifty or so men in attendance.
The theme for this retreat was “Men of Valor”, based on this scripture: “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (Daniel 11:32 NKJV)
The strength of the verse in Daniel lies in the second half dealing with men who know their God and will carry out great exploits. As Daniel is explaining in this chapter, dark times were coming; indeed they were coming quickly, but men who know their God (mighty men of valor) can and will do great things. And they did.
Yeah, that was long ago, but look around, dark times are here and more are to come. Our world and more specifically our Churches need men who know their God, these mighty men of valor, to step up for this fight. We need to bring valor back into our homes, families, workplaces and Churches again. A.W. Tozer puts it this way, “a scared world needs a fearless church”. We are that Church. We need to be fearless, we need to stand up as men of valor, men who know their God.
Of course words like valor and exploits conjure up visions of men in armor, weapons ready, filled with the fear and adrenaline of impending battle. Sounds cool to us guys, but our world needs us to be warriors in our homes and world by living and representing our devotion to God constantly. Our battlefield may be the mall, school, work, football field and even on the highway. We face an adversary that uses not swords and arrows but guilt, greed, doubt, anger, and prejudice to keep us from being the mighty men of valor, the men who know their God, the husbands and fathers we should be.
Our valor should be evident in our devotion to God, our families and our church everywhere we go. We should be willing to stand out from the world, be seen for what we are. We should be using all of our gifts, small and large, not waiting for a grand gesture, but as a part of our daily lives. We need to be available, to our families, our friends and our Church, willing to step outside of our comfort zone, steady in our strength, because it comes from God.
Being a man of valor simply means knowing your God, knowing that He will sustain you through the hard places, knowing that He loves and pursues us. He has great exploits in store for us if we can just be willing to be the men we were always intended to be.
I was blessed during my weekend retreat, almost every minute was filled with prayer, worship, testimony, and the introduction to men from all walks of life, united in their desire to grow into the men God intended.
Just a fair warning, I have already volunteered to get more men from Canvas to attend next time around, so be prepared, I’m coming after you!