Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Man-Room!

This is one of those things I have been reluctant to write about for some time... not because its not important... on the contrary... its among the most important things going on right now... but because I don't know how to describe or explain it adequately. I am referring to "the Man-Room".

This is the best explanation I've come up with yet... this is an invitation to someone I sent out inviting them to participate.

What is the Manroom?
The manroom began as a small mentoring group but it quickly developed a life of its on and morphed into much more than that. It is a gathering of men (much too informal to be called a meeting) every 2nd and 4th Tuesday night at my house... out on the back porch... it has no real start time and no real finish time... most people start arriving around 7pm and hang out usually until after 11... there is usually something to munch on and always something to drink... it can be hilariously funny and turn deathly serious in just seconds... it is sometimes a touch crude (think jr. high humor) and always irreligious... I think of it as men being men... unapologetically... unashamedly... men! And in the midst of this atmosphere God shows up... always... powerfully. I can also say that not one person who has made the manroom part of their life is the same as when they started. There has been impressive individual spiritual growth.

It is not an open group and it is NOT something people can invite their friends to.... I am careful about who is invited for a few reasons... 1) I see the hand of God on you in a unique way that makes me think you will benefit from this, 2) Because of the irreligious nature of the group I control the invites for fear of offending those who are sensitive to that, and 3) I guard the mix of personalities in order to preserve the openness and interaction in the group.

The group is not for you if you can be offended easily... if you expect a bible study or formal mentoring... if you need to be in bed by 9pm (the good stuff rarely starts before 9)... or if you are afraid to urinate in the woods (this makes more sense once you get here)!

We decided to open up the invitations this year a little... it has potential to get a little crowded and since we meet on a screened porch (with some heat and windbreak) you will need to dress for the elements somewhat.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Help Desk

M. works for a rental car help counter. She gets to talk to those people who are already having a bad day. Last week M. received a typical customer call but as she spoke to the woman on the other end the woman broke down and began to tell M. about all the problems and issues going on in her life. M. then offered to pray for the woman. The woman agreed until she realized M. meant RIGHT NOW, ON THE PHONE! She couldn't believe it. She said, "Nobody has ever prayed for me before" She then asked her to wait a minute... she then put the phone on speakerphone in a busy school office and asked the office staff to come listen because "the car rental lady is going to pray for me."

M. began to pray and as she did the spirit of God came over that office and people began to sob. The presence of God filled that office. The lady has maintained contact with M. via email and M. is continuing to draw her to the Lord.

An Appointment by Accident

C. was driving to work on Cooper road near the church a few days ago when he came upon a serious accident. He felt impressed to stop and pray for the injured but the police were just arriving and he talked himself out of getting involved. As he drove away he became more and more convinced that he had missed a "Divine Appointment" and began to pray for God to give him another chance to minister to the victims.

C. called a couple of hospitals asking about the Cooper road accident victims. He finally found a nurse who was willing to help. He simply said he was wanting to pray with them. "I am not supposed to tell you anything," said the nurse, "but the lady just asked for a chaplain and we have nobody here right now... you can come and pray."

When he arrived they asked him to wait in the crowded waiting room... then they brought the lady out to meet him. C. said, "Ma'am, I know you don't know me but God sent me here to pray for you." The woman began to sob... then fell out in the Spirit... the Spirit of God came on that waiting room and people all over the room began to cry and pray. When she came to she shared some of her history with C. She was a godly woman and was encouraged by C.'s prayer... then C. said "I have a word for your son... God says, I saved your life so you wouldn't have to lose it." (C. didn't know the woman's son was the other accident victim at this point) The woman again began to cry and went to get her son. He was in emergency... the doctor working on the young man brought him out to the waiting room... head bandaged and bloody.

By now those in the waiting room were totally involved... people sobbing all over the place. The mother introduced C. to the boy and told him he wanted to pray with him. The boy told C. that he thought that he was dead... and at the last second before hitting the tree a bright light came over him... the next thing he knew he woke up in the hospital. C. gave him the word... "God says, I saved your life so you wouldn't have to lose it." The boy said "I'm ready... what do I need to do?" C. told him, "Your mother knows the Lord... she will tell you how to turn your life over to him." Then C. turned and left the room.

As C. walked out the door he overheard the woman saying to her son, "I don't know if he was an angel or not, but he left me his phone number"

C. says he could have given an alter call in the waiting room if he had wanted, but sensed that he had done what he was supposed to do so he left.

Where are the Fireworks?

I have often stated that leaders don't go to church to receive... they go to give... to work and serve. That is a difficult concept for many people. Our consumer mentality has permeated the church so completely that most people attend with the expectation that they are supposed to get something. I am of the opinion that those who are mature should be serving those who have yet to receive anything.

This idea was echoed last week by a friend of mine through an analogy that I loved. He was commenting that he had been somewhat disillusioned by the fact that he often failed to see the spiritual fireworks that he experienced when he first became a christian and first started coming to church. For a long time he thought the church had really deteriorated... but he was still hearing the stories of God moving in people. It finally connected with him that the people coming in who were seeking were experiencing an overwhelming sense of God's presence... those people coming in at the same place spiritually that he was in when he first came were seeing the fireworks. He said, "I realized that I had matured to a different place now... and that my job was no longer to watch the fireworks but to light the fuses!"

I have nothing else to add to that... light some fuses