Twice a year, I head to a different city with my friends Les & Verick to co-host, co-lead, co-teach Advance, a workshop designed to help men move forward in life. The event began almost on accident a few years ago, and has grown ten-fold in just a few years.
In this episode of the podcast, I share some reflections from 9.0, which just took place in Dallas, Texas.
Here’s the list- in no particular order (the order I share them, but not necessarily the order of importance):
ONE. The faith issue isn’t going away. In fact, it’s getting stronger- and I like it. The more I lean into who I am, the more I sense that the message of grace + freedom + empowerment is the message I’m destined to carry. It’s- I’ll be honest- the place I’ve struggled the most. It’s the Father’s unique deposit in me.
TWO. We were down a man. And we were down because Verick embodied the message of marriage that he teaches so well…
THREE. Instead of replacing Verick (which there’s no way we could do), we opted to have 10-12 guys replace him and shared the stage.
I stepped back from some of my “regular” time as well and opted to emcee one of the sessions where I usually talk a lot (the “how” session), taught the final 7.5 minutes to cover the “why” (pic below) instead of covering the majority of that session, and handed off most of the teaching time on the final session (“you”) to Tom- who did an incredible job. We’re all better for the collective wisdom, stories, and insights the “extra” men brought to the table.
(Verick’s marriage talk in phenomenal, BTW. He video’d it in- catch it at https://www.eatsleepadvance.com/blog/SOLID )
FOUR. Kinda a shall reflection here… but we used a “center stage” format instead of a “chairs in rows facing the front.” It meant that the speakers were surrounded by participants on four sides- and it mean everyone was closer.
FIVE. We baptized more people at this event. I didn’t lead it, Les didn’t lead it… Verick was OOT. The two Brian’s organized this one, again- and it was awesome.
SIX. Roger led his “sexual integrity” roundtable. This is a group for guys who are kicking porn or impure thoughts and pursuing loving their wives hard. A few years ago, Roger had 4 men show up. Then 7. Then 10… This time, he had 57! It’s another example of what happens when there’s radical grace AND you empower men to lead in their wheelhouse.
SEVEN. I learned more about unity at this one. When we all choose to walk together, we can do some amazing things. In fact, I think that “oneness” is- in itself- a supernatural thing that draws the heart and hand of God (see Psalm 133, Leviticus 8).
EIGHT. My Dad joined me again for this Advance. Last time (Nashville, 8.0), he sat up front and cheered. This time, he actually taught. I got the double-blessing of walking with him up close and personal during this trip, sharing some of my story with him, and sensing his overwhelming grace and goodness in a fresh way. I also saw how he still courts my Mom and woos her- even at 69 years of age. The men who Advanced with us are all better for him having been there- including me.
(That’s a pic of Dad on center stage in the pic above, BTW. Shortly after that pic was taken, he rapped- no kidding- and then received a standing ovation.)
NINE. Most of the guys came wounded. I know I did. Life is hard. Sometimes it’s hard because of things that happen to us; many times it’s hard because of the stupid things we do. Grace covers it all- and I becoming more keenly aware that God’s strength superabounds when we’re the weakest.
This is one of two shots I grabbed over the weekend… Les here, at the beginning, with guys locking arms…
“No one walks alone,” he said.
TEN. I’ve got a tool for you to continue Advancing- even after this Advance. Text the keyword ADVANCE to the number below… and you’ll receive hope-filled inspiration on your cell phone to help you move forward. No kidding.
Well, that’s all for now.
I’m honored that so many of you join us time after time…
And I don’t take the privilege lightly that we’ve been given to walk with you and speak into your life.
Until next time…
Links that may help you ADVANCE >>>
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