Many present TV shows paint a picture of men as being idiots who have no more control of themselves than a dog in heat. I regularly see Face book posts bemoaning, "There are no good men out there." Statistics on fatherhood certainly do not help the case of the modern male as it would seam that with the rise of broken families many Fathers are checking out of their families. And, let's be honest, if not for women one has to wonder if the church would even continue to exist.
However, I am thankful to be a part of a church family in which the male population dares to be courageous. Lest you think there are no men of courage and character left in our world, let me encourage you with just a few stories.
For the past 6 or 7 years I have watched men willingly come together not only to study the Bible, but to take on direct, honest and bold accountability. I know the level and depth of their commitment to live out the truth of James 5:16, "Confess your sins one to another amd you will be healed," because this courageous group of men let me join them in their journey.
Over a year ago, another men's group was started at LH by Pastor Gregg Hebrank, who called the group together, but then watched God raise up the men of the group to take turns leading the group. They too then ventured into one on one accountability.
Of course, the Celebrate Recovery Men's Study Groups, have watched men take on habits, hurts and hang-ups head on. These men have no desire to simply talk about their issues, they are committed to holding each other accountable in letting God lead them forward. Our church will be forever grateful for the likes of Pastor Paul Brannon and his wife Jenni for the on-going, lasting freedom people experience in CR.
Then there are men like Gordy Gibson and Michael Mills who refuse to allow intercessory prayer to be only a women's event. They have met with many men, including me, for Prayer Ministry for Inner Healing.
Eric Binning, of LH, served at our first Kids Against Hunger pack and dared to ask, "Why couldn't we have a packing site in Dayton?" He did not just ask the question, he became the answer. Last Friday, his Kids Against Hunger Dayton Hunger Initiative did a pack at Springboro Hugh School because of the leadership of another man from Living Hope, Jason Hall, who is a teacher and advisor for LIFT (student led ministry).
Of course, we cannot ever forget the men of LH's response to Human Trafficking at the Superbowl, out of which 6 victims have been rescued!
Some would say, well, that was a one time event, but what are the men doing now? The answer is that the men of Living Hope are doing even more! Just go on Face book and search for "Men of Action", led by Jeremy Schulz and Todd Circele. These men have started a group that has burst outside the walls of LH. I've lost count of how many men from LH and beyond have now joined these two men to call men, as Jeremy said, "To get off our butts and do something!"
I am also thankful that our men are involved in the children's and teen ministry here...that is something that sets LH apart, you know. Normally, only women serve in that ministry area. But here the men understand that our boys and young men need godly male examples to show them how to be courageous men of faith. I would start mentioning names, but there are so many that I fear I would leave someone out.
Every day I work with two men, John Colegrove and Jon Gibson, who I watch continually go the extra mile just because they love Christ and want to see others be real, transformed, connected and poured out!
I could share many more stories of how the men of LH are breaking the mold of the undeserved and deserved criticism of the modern man. I thank God that at LH we have men who are calling us to live according to the courage and strength of Joshua who said, "But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).