Man Up?!?

Five or ten years ago, if you had invited me to any event with the phrase “MAN UP” in its name, I probably would have smiled and thanked you, but inwardly revolted and rebelled, saying to myself, “I’m not going to go to that”. The phrase actually offended something in me, probably my foolish pride, because to me it seemed to say to me that I needed to assume some level or type of responsibility that I was currently not assuming, or perceived by others to be assuming, and/or not living up to someone else’s definition of masculinity or manhood. For several years, before my family and I moved to the Sacramento area, I was a bit of a spiritual “Lone Ranger,” still going to church regularly, but not wanting to get too familiar or close to other men at church, because I didn’t want to have my life examined, be too accountable, or have to commit too much. I preferred to “fellowship at a distance” and to basically keep to myself and my family, and not join a church men’s fellowship (although I did try to attend one once, but ended up getting the date wrong).

After we moved to Rancho Cordova and became part of the Body of believers at Bayside Life, my mindset about church changed quite dramatically. I started getting involved with Men’s Ministry, at least to the extent of fairly regularly attending the Men’s Breakfasts, and I started to forge friendships with several men in the church. My heart opened up more to fellowship, and I started to want to really become part of the life of the church and get more involved in service. But the phrase “MAN UP” would still have hit me as a personal affront. In fact, for a while, after a supervisor had said it to me about something at work, I literally used to mockingly say it out loud to myself. There was no way I would have wanted to attend an event named that.

At some point, probably about four or five years ago, the Lord broke down my petty resistance to this phrase, to the extent that I decided to attend my first “MAN UP” conference in Sacramento, and am I ever glad I did! I haven’t missed one since. The Lord has totally changed my heart about it; I wouldn’t want to miss this conference now. The speakers are always inspiring, the worship is incredible, the display tables are filled with quality materials and manned by excellent ministries, and the fellowship with the other men is truly a blessing and an encouragement. It is really an opportunity to bond with other men from the church, as we sit together during the sessions and eat lunch together at our tailgate on Saturday. If you’re on the fence about whether to go to the conference this year, I would strongly encourage you to seek the Lord about it, ask men about it who have gone, and hopefully attend yourself if you are able. Pastor Sam Huddleston and the other people who work with him to put this conference on every year truly seek the Lord and work extremely hard throughout the year to make it the best, and as blessed, as it can possibly be. You will not regret it if you go. The presence of the Lord will surely be “in the house” and the joy will be overflowing! The conference is March 27-28 at Capital Christian Center. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need more information. Thank you, and God bless you!
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