Sunday, October 12, 2008

Men's Advance 2008


This is a little video of Sean firing a .22 Rifle at the range. Unfortunately I messed up the sound, by muting the microphone on my camera instead of the speaker...oh well. You can see the little plume of smoke after he fires the gun.

This years Men's Advance was a real blessing. Overall, I think we've finally found a home since we left Koinonia camp in Santa Cruz 3-4 years ago. Although the group was small, I believe God worked in a huge way! Praise be to the Lord.

The attacks were very strong last week leading up to the Advance. Last Monday/Tuesday I was convinced we should just cancel/postpone the whole thing. I was fighting against amazingly strong discouragement, I'm so glad the Lord prevailed and we decided to push forward.

Friday Night
On the drive up, the Lord showed up. We were talking about homelessness and loving the less fortunate when Andrew, who was in the car, said that's weird I brought this song, Break My Heart by Ryan Delmore to listen too. Here is the first line of the lyrics "C
an I see my brother, with nothing to eat, and say God be with you, while I go to a feast?" 

Oh yeah, the Men's Advance was going to be good, if God was showing up in a conversation on the way there! It was such a gift, from God, after the battle the week before. Praise His Name!

After the obligatory/traditional/absolutely necessary stop at In-N-Out we got to Rancho Alegre and got to work setting everything up. We would be starting our first session at 8pm. Our worship leaders for the weekend, Austin and Ryan, showed up about 7:59PM and got us going!

The theme for the weekend was Giving up Childish Ways from 1 Cor 13:11. So Bryan gave us a word from 1 Cor 13 and all the men were blessed. We shared communion and during the worship/response afterwords many of the men were broken with their need for God's healing and restoration of life. We prayed fervently for them and it was a sweet time.

But the Administrative (sometimes evil) side of me was wondering, "What will we do
 the rest of the weekend?" Generally speaking we have the kind of response we had on Friday, during the Saturday night session! The Lord must have been shaking his head at me, "Oh ye of little faith!"

Saturday Morning
I generally don't sleep at these things, and this weekend was no exception. I just don't do well with sleeping away from home and having lot's to think about. So I guess you could say I woke up at 6:40AM and took a shower and went to the Hall to see what the Lord had for us that morning.

Well the first thing was some of the most amazing sausages I'd ever tasted. Along with some good french toast and the crispest grapes most of us had ever encountered, we had a hardy breakfast to start it all off.

Our Saturday morning session started with Austin and Ryan leading us in a couple of songs and then Joey, one of our Elders, shared a word with us...from none other than 1 Cor 13! The highlight of the morning was when Joey told us about the time his wife Katie texted him, "After we talked Judah [their son] pooped on the floor." Note to self, it's always a crowd pleaser at a Men's event when you incorporate the word poo.

Joey ended his message with some great questions from 1 Cor 13 about whether or not we are
 patient, kind, selfish, etc. Right before Austin and Ryan gave us a few more songs of worship we sat in silence, really thinking about those questions. It was a great start to the morning.

The Competitions
Just to mix it up, the last few Men's Advances we've put the men in Platoons and then had some fun competition (usually on Saturday morning). This Advance was no exception. We cut the Platoons in half and sent half of them with Aaron to play Kajabi Kan Kan and the other half came with me to shoot .22 rifles!

If you don't know what Kajabi Kan Kan is, it's a bunch of people in a circle all holding knotted ropes trying to get each other to touch an empty trash can stuck in the middle of the circle. You get eliminated by touching the trash can or letting go of the rope. It's almost as much a crowd pleaser as the word poo.

In the first session, Chris and Jacob got first and second getting their Platoons 75 and 50 points respectively. In the second session, it was a show down between Sean and SupermAnselm with Sean prevailing.
Over at the shooting range, Bullfrog pictured above, gave us a wonderful run down of shooting .22 rifles safely and accurately. Many of the men had never shot a .22 rifle before so this was a real treat. The first session shooters were kinda weak, including me. Many of us had scores in the high 30s to low 40s. The second session was much better, all except one dude scored more than 40 points, and even he scored a 39. It's no surprise that the high score 49 out of 50, nice Scott, came from that session.

Lunch/Free Time
During Lunch, ham and cheese sandwiches, Aaron and I tallied up the scores to see who won. It was a tight competition between Pastor James' Platoon and Deacon Jeff's, with Jeff's prevailing in the end. They actually scored a tie in the Shooting competition (344 total points).

SevnOne donated some hats to us and these were the spoils of the competition. Jeff's Platoon could be seen proudly wearing them throughout the rest of the weekend!

After the prizes were handed out we had Morgan share with us his testimony and the vision God has given him to reach a group of Tibetan people in China. He told us how growing up he was a bit bored with just being told to be a good boy, when he was really looking for an adventure that God could calm him to for His glory. He went on to tell us that the Tibetan people group is one of the least reached people groups in the world, with 50 known believers! He let us know he was going to go as an Agribusiness man, since they are very wary of outsiders, with the hope of also planting a church.

Afterwards, Morgan had led a discussion group during the free time to talk about how we all could reach people groups who have not been reached yet with the gospel, just by using the talents and gifts that God has given us. Many of us also signed up to get his newsletter. Morgan and his wife will be going overseas in Sept 2009 after he graduates from CalPoly. Morgan's Platoon layed hands on him and prayed for God to do amazing things in and through him and his family that are going. We can't wait to see what God does.

Everyone kinda scatters during free time. Some go away to be alone with the Lord, others take naps, and some play sports or Nintendo Wii. Me? A group of us went off to shoot some more! Bullfrog, who is retired, told me he was pretty much retired and bored and if we wanted to shoot some more he wouldn't mind. He had quite a bit of wisdom (shooting wise) to impart and we were blessed to take part! All in all, I think he stuck around for about 3 hours so 8-12 of us could shoot a bit more...it was so much fun!

I shot for an hour or so and then headed to my bunk for a short nap, which ended up being a 1.5 hour one! So about 20 minutes until dinner I got to the Hall and found a bunch of dudes playing Risk and Tiger Woods Golf on the Wii, and the aroma of sweet BEEF was coming from the kitchen. I just love Men's Advance!

Saturday Night
Dinner consisted of Tri-tip, clam chowder, salad (yuck I ate some honey!), and for dessert...apple crisp with vanilla ice cream. Oh I forgot to tell you, about halfway through free time a huge tray of brownies came out of the kitchen! We were fed well. During dinner we discussed the most disgusting things we've ever eaten. I'm pretty sure I trumped even Antonio with balut. Antonio and I both agreed that Beef Tongue is one of the best tasting foods that people don't know about.

In the Dinner line, Steve and I were discussing what we would be teaching on (he was on that night and I the next morning). Guess what Steve was going to teach on that night? Yup, you guessed it 1 Cor 13. Now I've been helping or leading Men's Retreats/Advances for Calvary for a while now, and we never talk about what each of the speakers are going to share. And never have 3 speakers spoke on the same passage! God was really trying to get through to our thick skulls!

The Saturday night session was amazing. Pastor James, accompanied by Greg, led us to the throne room right away. I just love the way James leads worship, God has truly gifted him and he has such a servant's heart in his leading. As I said before Steve spoke that night and gave us yet another angle on 1 Cor 13. He challenged us not to think of the heart of that chapter as a list of to-do's as men easily do, but to truly ask the Lord to give us love for the people in our lives and the fruit would be patience, kindness, etc.

The Holy Spirit came in a mighty way during the response time and we were all so very blessed. It is very evident that God wanted us all to know that Giving up Childish Ways meant to selflessly love. We cannot selflessly love without His power and many asked for that power that night. We closed with many men asking for prayer in the realm of loving God with all of their hearts and souls. It is somewhat easier for men to love God with their minds and strength, but more difficult emotionally. Praise the Lord! He moved so mightily that weekend.

Sunday Morning
The food was very good at the camp and Sunday morning was indicative of that. We had scrambled eggs, nice thick cut bacon, tater logs (not tots), and some fruit. During the waning parts of breakfast I asked the men for some brutal and truthful feedback on the weekend. I specifically asked, "What was your favorite part of the weekend, and your least favorite?" This was a good session with mostly positive feedback and just some tweaks that we could do for the next one. I was so thankful for each of the men that stuck around till the very end.

We easily transitioned into sharing what God was doing in their hearts that weekend; confessions, decisions, and prayer requests. And we had a great open session. With many decisions (to rely on God's power) to change made and many sharing that God was definitely moving in their lives. We also prayed for those that needed physical and mental healing.

We took a break and then we had the Sunday session. Austin and Ryan led us in worship and I taught through 1 Cor 13...no I taught through Ex 18 when Jethro brings Moses' family back and gives him some advice on governing the Israelites. We learned that Moses humbled himself to listen to his father-in-law and took action. We would all like to not just listen to what God was saying that weekend, but actually take action!

To think, just a few days ago I was saying things like, "I'm gonna cancel/postpone this Advance." and "I'm done doing Men's Advances." I love to watch God work in the hearts of men...this was an amazing gift. Thank you Lord!



A special thanks to Aaron (Nessie) and Austin (DreamBoat) for their help in putting this baby on...couldn't a done it withoutcha!

Thanks to Bryan, Joey, and Steve for speaking and Austin, Ryan, James, and Greg for leading the men in worship through singing.

Thank you Jesus for dying and then rising from the Dead! You continue to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free!

2 comments:

Ryan Ouimette said...

what a great advance! thanks patrick for all you endured to see it happen. i am thankful to be a part of it.

CoachZ said...

Ryan,
Thanks so much for coming. It was great getting to know you a bit...
pz