Today, it seems that heroes fall more often than they rise above the crowd and lead to a better thing, place, or ideal. The Christian community of believers is rocked left and right by the failings of evangelical leaders in sin, conservative congressmen who claim to support the values held dear but are arrested for activities which lie in direct opposition to them. Values are taught more in the secular school without regard for historical guidelines than in the homes.
Children are being called to a level of maturity that too often they are unprepared for.
I got to stand with some heroes this weekend in the midst of the battle. And there is a battle going on despite most of humanity checking out of the fight. To many, it is too hard, too disheartening to keep fighting when all you do is seemingly lose ground. When the 'truth' is distorted beyond humanistic efforts to unravel it.
Even in the body of Christ, the Christian community is riddled with those claiming 'battle fatigue'; those who would stop fighting for that one more lost soul to save and would rather gather the wagons. When it comes to ministries, it is far more likely to be approved in the church of today if it doesn't offend anyone, is easy to swallow, and doesn't go too deep. Instead of pointing the finger in love and mercy, calling those who believe to standards beyond the world's limits, pastors and leaders in the 'popular' churches seek to be 'user-friendly' and 'seeker friendly' without substance.
But I got to stand with heroes this weekend past.
Not the heroes of the world, though the world needs more champions like these. Some are successful in the world standards, others secure in family, and still others champions of culture. But these heroes I spent the weekend with weren't images of the heroes of today but visible and living heroes of old.
" Whereas we once prized honor, integrity, virtue, courage and the like, we now prize fame, fortune, and beauty." S. Michael Craven talks of the values we can find in the heroes of old in the article Redefining Heroism. These prized characteristics of our heroes were passed down throughout the history of the world in stories, where it was the value not the person who was highlighted. George Washington and the cherry tree is one such famous story. Nowadays the heroes are those who are rich, famous, and often deprived. The media would rather highlight worldly sin than spiritual values. Britney Spears garners more attention than Billy Graham on these 'storytellers' of the modern world.
But the heroes that I was honored to spend the weekend with weren't on the lifeless pages of some history book, needing my imagination and dreams to come to some semblance of life. Neither were they some 'symbolic' representation of those prized characteristics of old on the TV or movie screen. According to the standards set by the media today, they wouldn't even garner a highlight reel on the evening news.
Regardless, these heroes were real.
And how they imparted their rights to be heroes, at least by the standards set in the Biblical accounts, was by telling their stories. Simply by allowing the group to see the honor, integrity, virtue, and courage that fallen sinful humanity could attain by simply realizing the model of true manhood, slaving their free will to attaining those standards, and relying on God to supply the strength to achieve them.
They can be called heroes because of what they strive to be, because of who's they are. In a tapestry of color and beauty, from a background of pain and movement, these men are the heroes of the new world, a standard God calls all men to become.
I would call all men to this group of heroes; this band of brothers, this heartful few heroes that stand the ground lost, that fight the battles to win, and will stand before their Creator to hear, "Well done Good and Faithful Servants".
Awakened Hearts is the ministry led by Scott Engelman and Mark Jackson which hosted the "Men in the North" weekend, the story weekend which I attended. Scott, who serves as director of Grace Counseling Center, is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute (BA), Dallas Theological Seminary (Th M), and Colorado Christian University (MA). Scott considers it most important though to bring other men into experiencing the journey of manhood with other men in pursuit of God's design, which led to the founding of the M3 (Men Molding Men) ministry.
Mark Jackson serves as Director of the Golf Division of Davey Tree Company, but his real passion is reaching out to isolated men to re-connect them, through the Awakened Hearts Ministries, with other men in a journey to re-awaken their masculine heart. Mark has over eight years of leadership experience in men's groups and is at the center of the growing movement to recapture the hearts of men for Christ. Many men consider him a second father.
The website, www.mmmministry.org, is undergoing a major overhaul, but remains accessible at the time of this posting.
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