Last Saturday I sat in the home of Mark and Nadine Rockwell and listened as I saw a strong man pour out his heart with a burden for the men of Limestone County. The burden took shape this year in the launch of a men’s ministry called Men of Courage, and was kicked off in February of 2014.
Several things led up to Mark approaching Dr. Edwin Jenkins of First Baptist Church in Athens to begin a men’s ministry that would reach beyond physical and denominational walls. One was a scripture that just would not let Mark go. It is Micah 6:8- “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” NKJV
Mark told me that another thing that gripped him was the book, “Wild At Heart,” written by John Eldridge, one with which I am familiar and highly recommend. He then summarized the book by saying that a man is essentially hard wired “to be a warrior, fight for his beauty, and go on an adventure with God.” The third major inspiration was the movie, “Courageous,” which was produced right around the time God was so intensely dealing with Mark in the night when he couldn’t sleep, and in the morning when he would go running. There is a particularly stirring scene in the film where the lead character, who had (prior to a horrible crisis) been an emotionally absent dad, challenged the men of his church with the following exhortation:
“We are inviting any man whose heart is willing and courageous to join us in this resolution.
In my home, the decision has already been made.
You don’t have to ask who will guide my family, because by God’s grace, I will.
You don’t have to ask who will teach my son to follow Christ, because l will.
Who will accept the responsibility of providing and protecting my family? I will.
Who will ask God to break the chain of destructive patterns in my family’s history? I will.
Who will pray for and bless my children to boldly pursue whatever God calls them to do?
I am their father. l will.
I accept this responsibility, and it is my privilege to embrace it.
I want the favor of God and his blessing on my home.
Any good man does.
So where are you, Men of Courage?
Where are you, fathers who fear the Lord?
It’s time to rise up and answer the call that God has given to you and to say,
‘I will. I will. I will.’” Movie – Courageous
The characters in the film hammer out a resolution that delineates their goals as to how, by God’s grace they are going to “step up” and be the husbands, dads, employees, employers, sons, friends and neighbors that God called them to be, all without legalism, striving internally, or pride. They resolve to be open and transparent with each other and their families, and while they all stumble in various ways, they refuse to give up, and you can’t help but cheer them on.
It is for the purpose of helping the men of Limestone County, whether they go to church or not, that First Baptist Church is sponsoring Men’s Night Out on Friday, Aug 1, beginning at 5:30 PM with a meal, followed by worship music, and two very different speakers. Hank Parker is the quintessential “regular guy.” He also happens to be a champion professional bass fisherman, and host of Hank Parker Outdoors on NBC Sports. 76% of the time Hank has competed, he has been “in the money.” He even was featured as a character in a Nintendo video game called “Bassin’s Black Bass with Hank Parker.”
Dr. Fred Luter is the Senior Pastor of the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans. Dr. Fred started pastoring in 1986, and had a small Southern Baptist church with about 65 members. When Hurricane Katrina hit, his world was turned upside down, and the chaos of rebuilding after Katrina caused him, as Marines would say, to have to “dig deep.” His church now has over 7,000 members, and his desire to minister to the community is known as “FRANgelism.” The acronym stands for Friends, Relatives, Associates, and Neighbors. Another way to put it is the “art of networking.”
If you are a “regular guy” who longs to be more in your family, place of business, and your community, then please come to First Baptist Church, located at 201 Hobbs Street, Athens, AL, 35611 on Friday, Aug 1, at 5:30 PM. For $10 you will partake of a meal catered by Lawler’s, fellowship provided by the men in the room, an opportunity to worship, inspiration provided by Hank and Dr. Fred, and deep change provided by the Spirit of God. You can make your reservations by calling 256-232-0602, and for more information go to www.fbcathens.org. You will be glad that you allowed yourself to be “welcomed to the resolution.”
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner