Last month I attended a session of the Act Like Men conference in Long Beach. The “Act Like Men” comes from one of my favorite Bible verses, I Corinthians 16:13-14: “Be on the Alert, Stand firm in the Faith, ACT LIKE MEN, be strong.”
(On a side note, some translations have the phrase “Be Courageous” rather than “Act Like Men.” I find it outstanding that those two phrases are synonymous.)
Among the topics discussed at the conference was “Lineage and Legacy”.
The two speakers in the Saturday morning session spoke the Truth to a filled Long Beach Arena. Even if it wasn’t a message that we wanted to hear, it was one we needed to hear.
Mark Driscoll, from Seattle, read from Genesis, the lineage portion following Noah and the flood. It starts with Noah’s sons and goes generation by generation, listing the man, how long he lived and who his son was, over and over again. That is, until it gets to Abraham. God led Abraham and his family away from their past and started something new.
Driscoll asked the question why we don’t have more detail about this long list of men. He said it is because they were all Godless pagans who did nothing worthy of mentioning.
But starting with Abraham, his son Issac, and his son Jacob, God started a new legacy. From that point forward the Bible is filled with references to Abraham. When people ask what God they serve, they say, “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.”
Quite the lineage and legacy.
Matt Chandler, from Texas, spoke of his past as a military brat. He said his Dad was a hard man that liked to drink and abuse his wife and kids. Just like his Father before him, and his Father before him.
He talked about how people who grow up with a legacy like that always promise themselves that they will never fall victim to those demons, but as they try and deal with it alone, they fall right back into that trap as that is all they know.
Chandler then talked about the day he found God, or rather God found him. He said because of his relationship with Jesus, his kids are growing up with a Father that is involved with the church, and the community and loves them and loves their Mother. He said it is because of that, the legacy of addiction and abuse he inherited from his Father will die with him. “Thank God, I will take that legacy to my grave,” Chandler said. “My kids will never have to know that ugliness.”
Driscoll also addressed those that, by the grace of God, were not born into such a legacy. Those that were raised in church by Men of Faith. “You guys were born in the Red Zone,” he said, using a football reference to make his point. “You didn’t have far to go to reach the goal. Some of us had further to go, some of us were not even on the field, because our Fathers got drunk in the parking lot during the tailgate party.”
His message was clear, “Never judge a man by where he is, judge him by how far he has come,” Driscoll said.
He carried a big chain onto the stage. Talked about each of us being a link in the chain.
He said many of us are the first chain in the link, starting a new legacy, just like Abraham, and need to set an example that will carry from generation to generation.
Others, he said, may be three or four links down from the start of the chain, but we must be steadfast and live up to the legacy handed down from our Fathers. “Don’t be the weak link!”
As for me, I fall into that latter category. Growing up, involvement in church was all that I knew. Like Bryan Duncan once sang, “I was born on Saturday, and in church on Sunday, and I guarantee I was never late.”
So on this Thanksgiving Day, I would like to thank the Men in my family ad my life for standing firm in the Faith, and acting like Men.
From my Grandfathers Harold Goff and Charles Pennington, to my late Father Edward Ray Goff, God, Family and Church were a way of life. It is all I have known.
And still more Men of Faith have played a huge role in my life.
To my uncles Marvin, Glen and Mark Goff and Dan Mettler on my Dad’s side, and Steve Pennington on my Mom’s side, Thank you all.
To the late great Bob Adcock, thank you for showing me how to live like a man.
To the father’s of my friends, such as Art Cobb, Steve Cope, Roger Green, and the belated Jim Parsons and Dennis Malcolm, thanks you for providing a shining example. (Adding the late Dave Wyant to this list.)
To the mentors at church, like Brad Shearer, Bob Veach and Joe Adcock. Your tireless efforts helping the youth of the area has not gone unnoticed.
To my contemporaries, Robert Cobb, Josh Parsons, and Tom Robinson, you are doing your Fathers’ proud with the leadership role you have taken in church and with your families.
To Brant Hansen, the afternoon DJ on Air1 radio, you may have grown up the geeky kid in class, but the things God is doing through you and Air1 are truly amazing.
To Mike Barnes, your leadership in The Grove men’s group each week is a blessing.
I salute you all, and give Thanks for your inspiration and leadership in my life over the years.
May God continue to keep you and Bless you.