The Man-Up Generation
Something is happening with our young men
In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Acts 2:17
May 1st, 2023 was an ordinary day in many ways but for about 40 young men between 18 and 24 it will be a special memory for a long time. Our Lord paid them a visit!
As many of you know, April was move in month for Cindy and I in Temecula, California. Hectic in so many ways but we finally are settling in and my new office and studio are ready to go for our upcoming broadcast sessions. In addition, we are meeting so many wonderful people here and it seems like God is opening up ministry opportunities everywhere. But, perhaps the most surprising and yet profound ministry seems to be happening with young men here.
Before I explain what happened on May first, let me give you a brief lead-up. My grandson, Hayden, started a small bible study group with young men around the beginning of the year. They call themselves, the Holy Stakes Club. Many of these men were guys he met and invited from his local gym. His brother, Parker, is also involved in leadership and has been inviting guys from his climbing gym. The growth has been nothing short of spectacular. Hayden asked me to speak to these men back in February when we first arrived and there were 18 guys there. I think 5-6 of them gave their hearts to the Lord at that gathering and many more rededicated.
During this past month Hayden asked me to help develop his group leaders. He has also adopted our OTI model for this effort so we have been going through the training videos and I have been teaching some of the sessions live. I encouraged him to ask his men to give anonymous feedback on cards regarding some of the issues they are facing. The results were both predictable but also very sad—so many broken young men. After reading the cards I suggested that they may want me to speak at their next meeting to love and encourage these precious men. The occasion was May 1stand here is what happened:
I started by telling them three stories…mine…theirs…and then, THE story. I kept mine short but there were enough highlights to get their attention. Having read their cards, I then went down a laundry list of all the stuff they are dealing with. Porn, drugs, anger, fear, anxiety, broken relationships, physical and emotional abuse, thoughts of suicide—it was a long list. I told them that all of their frustrations are stemming from trying to find the answers to the two big questions---who am I (my identity), and why am I here (my destiny)?
Then I told the THE story. It all started with Adam and Eve and the fall of man. When sin entered the world and we put on those first fig leaves fear, anxiety and insecurity began. We are all looking to reclaim that which God intended to define us from the beginning. I said that the problems they’re experiencing are the result of where they are looking for answers. Most of them are looking for their identity from the world around them, their circumstances or even their close friends rather than the One who made them. That will always fall short and lead into a deeper spiral.
I then told them about finding out Whose they are before they can discover who they are. It must start with having an intimate relationship with the One who made them. After a little more unpacking I then asked who would like to start their journey with Jesus today and 7-8 men gave their hearts to the Lord. Another dozen rededicated their lives and made a commitment to begin following The God Who Is instead of a god they want. What happened next took the better part of three hours.
I asked one of the men to place a big, tall chair in the middle of the room and simply said, ok, how real do you men want to get? It was instant. One man after another took to the chair, shared their struggles and received prayer. My grandson Parker went and got some olive oil out of the pantry to anoint the men, I told him it had to be Italian.
About half way through the 20 or so men who shared, I stopped and told them someone here is carrying a huge burden and is seriously contemplating suicide. You need to take this seat. Right after the next man was done a young man came forward and it was remarkable. He was so broken it was hard to discern what he was saying—pretty bad language and an eerie sense of possible demonic presence. I asked him if he was the one I described…he said yes. I started praying and the men gathered around this brother and we could feel the change.
It was so amazing—they all chanted, NO MAN LEFT BEHIND! I have never witnessed this level of open humility and desperation for the Lord in a group of young men like this. God is truly doing something amazing. After about four hours we had to bring it to a close. I told them that this now needs to be their benchmark or model moving forward. That this is foundational for repentance, healing and growth. I simply started the process and they took over—towards the end I just watched. Thank You Lord—THESE MEN ARE READY TO MAN-UP!
On a final note, I want to invite any of you who may be interested in joining me on a weekly OTI Zoom call to please email firstname.lastname@example.org. I will put you on a list for our first call where you can find out more about format and times to see if this may be for you.