Thursday, February 28, 2013

Report: WalkWorthy 2013

Pardon the brief interruption, friends. The last week has been a whirlwind and having the ability to squeeze in the time to write has been gone. While we did go to our first ballroom dancing lessons last night (oh yes, plenty to write about), I want to share my experience over last weekend. Not running...actually very little running the past 7 days, but a day I spent with over 1600 men. Yep. 1600+ men.

The event is called "WalkWorthy." It's held about this time every year in one of our areas mega-churches yet holds no affiliation to that church, that church being Parkside Church. Some of you may have heard of Pastor Alistair Begg...that's his church. He wasn't present (ironic considering a massive gathering of men was taking place under his roof) but plenty of men were.

The Parkside stage/setting for WalkWorthy
WalkWorthy is organized by the Moody Bible Institute out of Chicago, Illinois. MBI essentially works with the local folks to get the space, organize the speakers and get the word out. I had never been to one but looking back now nearly a week later, I am extremely thankful for the day. It started at 7am when I met to carpool up with about 10 other men and by 8:30am, the day kicked off. By 3:30pm, it would end but sandwiched there in the middle was four speakers, lots of worship in between and a lunch provided by the Macedonia Chick-Fil-A. First up was the 9th president of the Moody Bible Institute, Dr. Paul Nyquist. He has a young 20-something son who is a pastor of a church and part of the Millennial generation which is leaving the church in masses because of what it has become. He co-authored a book with him about the post-church Christian and by day's end, had sold out of it and signed every copy. It was a really good hour to spend with the president and hear from his heart AND be challenged...not just as a man but as a father of a few members of the next generation.

Mark Jobe
Following Dr. Nyquist was Pastor Mark Jobe, a pastor out of Chicago who now is over 19 campuses throughout the city. His "campuses" aren't a bunch of sprawling mega-churches in the suburbs but instead sprinkled through the inner-city of Chi-town. He pastors a kaleidoscope of ethnicities, is an author, is on the radio and is internationally known. I had heard of him but never knew more than a name. He talked about stepping out of our "man caves". The man of "today" has become so spineless and redefined that so many hide in the shadows of their homes, careers and families and do not lead. His talk was a megaphone-sized call to step out...courageously. Great talk! Lunch followed for 1600+ men which took the next 90min and during which, Pastor Jobe had a long line of men waiting to speak to him and pray with him. The next session is all that ended that line or I bet it would've gone on for hours.

After lunch was Pastor Kevin James out of Cleveland. I gotta say...that man has a serious amount of energy! I don't think he ever breathed between sentences! He spoke on the "Sons of Abraham" but truth be told, I had a hard time following him and took nearly no notes at all. It was good but not memorable. Time sure did fly, though. Once he finished and the day was nearly over, the final speaker was on deck. The professor of Biblical Studies at Moody Bible Institute is Dr. Winfred Neely. I'll never forget the stark contrast between him and the Kevin James who preceded him on stage. Polar opposite! Dr. Neely was introduced and he walked slowly, deliberately, and tall to the stage. Speaking slow and with a deep voice, he began as if in the classroom. "Men, turn your Bibles to Two Samuel...." It was like jumping off a rollercoaster and in to a graduate level classroom. Slam on the brakes! The best was yet to come, though.

Dr. Neely
Many have heard the story of King David who committed adultery with one of his men's wives, named Bathsheba. Enticed by seeing her bathing, he made a life-changing choice to take another man's wife. King David was considered one of the most, if not the most, Godly men in his time. Yet...he fell. Dr. Neely told the story slowly, powerfully, and in a way with so much detail that I was seriously impacted. In my mind, I was like "Oh, to be his students! His students are richly blessed to have him at the helm of their careers and walk." The story was one of redemption, forgiveness, but ended with a warning from Dr. Neely...to be on guard! I'll not forget him telling us how the enemy lives within every one of us and the second that evil presents itself to us, we MUST extinguish it immediately and without hesitation. If one of the most Godly men that ever lived in the Old Testament could fall, who are we to think we cannot? I wrote Dr. Neely a message simply to thank him for his message. I downloaded the audio yesterday and couldn't believe it was 57 minutes long. If felt like 15. What a way to end the day!

WalkWorthy Conference for Men is a wrap for 2013. I am already looking forward to 2014! For 2013, all of the audio is now downloadable here.

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