Today as i sit in the Charlotte-Douglas airport waiting to board a plane back to Kansas City, with Starbucks in hand and a sense of calmness. See, i’m on my way back to Kansas City to be the best-man at my best friends wedding. First, i’d like to say; Congrats to Caleb and Rachael, Lean on God for everything!
Anyway, i am excited to return home to see good friends and to have fun. My mentor and great friend Dan Brown(No! Not the “Angels and Demons” author) and my other great friend Troy Smith(hopefully) will be picking me up when i land in KC, and i am overjoyed to be able to see these men. These are men that i have warred with on a Deep spiritual level. We have gone to battle with each other many times and i trust none more than i trust these men(there are more than just the 2, there are 10 of us in all).
in the fall semester of 2009, i barged my way into a “men’s group” at Maywood Baptist Church. When i say “barged”, i mean, “BARGED” my way in to the group. I was at a point in my life where i wasn’t certain of what God was doing with me. I didn’t have an extremely solid group of men around me. Let me point out that all my guy friends with the exception of Scott Loring were considerably younger than me, and i was often looked to for advice or help. Since the Death of my father in 2008, i was in desperate need of someone, older and preferably male, to vent to and gain good solid “godly” advice. What was amazing about God’s timing, is that i pretty much just jumped in to the group and began to help with the renovation of the Youth Chapel, and it was because of that event that the men kind of over looked the fact that i wasn’t going to leave and they accepted me as their own. I’ll never understand why, but i’d like to think that my dad, who was previously a member of the group, spoke to each of them in a dream and told them that it would be good for me. Whatever it was, i am eternally grateful that i was allowed to be there. During my time in the “Iron Man” men’s group, we fought against spiritual injustice within the church…as a result, we kind of parted ways with the church…each of us going our own separate way. BUT, to most people, that would have been the end of that group, but to us men, who had battled long and hard praying fervently and crying out to God in the early hours of tuesday mornings(we would start our meetings at 9pm, roughly, on monday nights, and would sometimes carry on until 1-3am), it was just another turn of the page. Up until the day i moved to Charlotte, NC, our group was still meeting on Monday nights at one of our members house. We continued to study together, chat, and seek advice concerning our issues in this world. I am so blessed to call these men “Brothers” and, again, am eternally grateful for the love and support they have shown me.
In the Early years of this “men’s group”, the one that my dad was a part of, they picked up a book called “Wild at Heart” and read it as a group. Because of the influence of the book, it sparked my dad buying a copy for my grandpa(his dad). Moving forward 7 years, my grandparents were cleaning off their shelves and looking at books that occupied them. They ran across the copy of the book that my dad had gifted his dad for his 70th birthday. Upon opening the book, my grandpa noticed his son’s words written on the inside cover of the book. Those words read:
Joel wrote a song for me the other day. Through all the struggles my family has been through, to still hear how much he feels i have been a blessing in his life was a great honor and it reminded me again of what a blessing it has been to be your son. I have not done anything special. I have simply tried to raise my kids the way you and mom raised me. My children know that i love them, through the way the two of you have passed down your love for me. My journey group has been reading through this book. I don’t think i’ve made it through a single chapter so far without shedding a tear. It gives great insight into the struggles of men and how God has made us. IT’s sort of like reading deep truths about yourself that you were never able to express of understand clearly. It also talks a lot about fathers and sons. Here, for me, the tears have been tears of joy. Sadly, the author states that he has never met a man who was not wounded in some way by his father. He has not met me. These are not just a bunch of fluffy words in honor of your 70th birthday. I had so many opportunities to think long and hard about my life. Recently, through talking with the other men in my group i have discovered even more just how truly blessed i have been. I have every confidence that my children’s children, and even their children, will live under the tremendous blessing that you started. Generations will be reaping what you sowed, Dad. And it has been a good thing! Thanks Dad, for all you are and continue to be in my life. I love you!
I have only just begun reading the book, but even in the first couple of chapters, i can fully agree with my own father’s words to his father. I was not wounded by my dad…i was immensely blessed by his sacrifice for me, my brother and sister. My father was truly wild at heart and i can only hope to, one day, be like him. I will leave you with this verse. Taken from the book of Proverbs chapter 20, verse 5:
“Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out”
Grace and Peace,