In October, the Florida Conference United Methodist Men celebrated 66 years of bringing men to Leesburg, changing men’s lives with the power of the Holy Spirit, and sending men home to their families and their churches to stand in the gap for Jesus Christ – to follow His calling to be better disciples, better husbands, better dads, better granddads, uncles, brothers, and sons.
At the weekend retreat of October 23-24-25, Dr Timothy Tennent, President of Asbury Theological Seminary, and speaker of the FLUME luncheon back in June of this year, rallied and revived the men with the history of Israel’s disobedient and unholy priests who profaned the land, saw false visions, and divined lies to God’s people (Ezekiel 22: 23-31, without one man among them to stand in the gap before God on behalf of the land. Because of this God poured out his indignation upon the people and the land. And He stands at the gap today and watches the wall being broken starting with the family, and as goes the family, so goes the community, the church and the country. Isaiah 10 talks about yearning for a man to stand. What kind of man is God looking for? One who is righteous, holy, sanctified and separated from the world, avoids touching what is unclean, avoids walking in the council of the ungodly, meditates day and night, a man of scripture, a man of valor, a man of sacrifice, not worrying about what anyone says to or about him, a man with the Spirit of God, cleansed on the inside, guided by the Spirit. Isaiah 6 says, “Here I am.” Dr. Tennent listed a host of men, all having their human frailties – our prudential prototypes – Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, and Jesus, Himself, and His apostles.
Dr. Tennent also lifted up the book of Judges 13, 14, and 16 – scriptures, he says, which do not necessarily represent the views of today’s church. From the story of Samson and what he gave away, Dr Tennent said today’s church’s greatest challenge is overcoming a lack of courage. While we are witnessing a great movement of God throughout the world, the American church is showing signs of losing courage in the face the roaring lion. The church has lost its vigilance. We are forgetting who we are. The church is accepting discounts in order to achieve lesser summits. The church is growing faster than ever before in history, but not here. The last headlines the New York Times will be publishing will be “The kingdoms of the world become the Lord’s. Every knee shall bow.”
For those of who hold dear the entire Word of God, Dr. Tennent calls on us “Do not lose our vigilance. God has great plans.” In other words, we haven’t seen anything yet.
In preaching about Gideon, Rev. Harold Lewis says “God doesn’t call men who are qualified. God qualifies the men He calls.” God challenged Gideon in Judges 6 & 7 to reduce the size of his army in the face of his enemies. God had in mind that He Himself wanted to be glorified in victory. Lewis says the “the problem is not our inadequacies, the problem is our iniquities, our sins which cut us off from God.” “We don’t choose our calling. God’s calling chooses us.” “How many are ashamed of their relationship with Jesus Christ? God has no secret service ministry. We must stand in the gap – for God, for our families, our schools, and our churches, where we work, and where we live.”