Training Men to be Godly Leaders
Training Men to be Godly Leaders

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Deep South Conference—Encouraging Men to be Godly Spiritual Leaders

Story by Carmel Palmer
Photos by Tom Price

This article about the 2015 Deep South Men’s Conference originally ran in Issue 65, Fall 2015, of Calvary Chapel Magazine.

“I want to talk to you about faith, but with a serious tone,” announced Mike MacIntosh at the Deep South Men’s Conference, held at Calvary Chapel Lexington, SC, this past fall. “Two trips to Northern Iraq in the last five months have radically changed my perspective. I met 23 women who had been kidnapped and sold by ISIS after their male family members were decapitated in front of them; a 13-year-old boy who was the only survivor of his family; a 70-year-old woman from Nineveh, about 4’10” and 90 pounds, who left everything and walked 60 miles to safety. Through tears, she said, ‘Mike, I did not renounce Jesus Christ.’ As we talk about faith in Abraham’s life, don’t think of the fluffy, watered-down version we see too often in America, but the faith our brothers and sisters are dying for.”

Mike MacIntosh teaching

Pastor Mike MacIntosh, founding pastor of Horizon Christian Fellowship in San Diego, CA, shares his experiences in Northern Iraq at the 2015 Deep South Men’s Conference.

Listening, Joel Saul of Calvary Chapel Greer, SC, was challenged by Mike’s words. A former Marine, Joel was very familiar with the situation in Iraq, but realized he needed to be more aware of persecuted Christians. “In my day-to-day work in psychiatry,” he explained, “I’m presented with many subtle opportunities to share Christ. Do I shuffle on past or boldly tell them who my Lord is, remembering my brothers and sisters are dying for that privilege? Mike’s talk strengthened my resolve.”

During the conference, Joel was built up by the camaraderie he felt with some of the approximately 650 attendees. Within 20 minutes of leaving, however, he came under intense spiritual attack. “For about an hour, the enemy came at me with condemnation, guilt, and lies,” Joel confessed. “It was obvious he wanted to poison the truth God had rekindled in me. But by praying, rejoicing, and listening to good Bible teaching and Christian music, the Lord changed my perspective.

“Usually, after an event like this, I ride that cloud for a while and then it dissipates; the daily grind starts to wear me down again. This time, though the feeling settled down, I still felt enriched and renewed.” The conference’s theme was “Learning from Great Men of God in the Bible.” Each talk centered on a different biblical man, approaching each not as a hero, but as a human used by God, drawing parallels between them and the men in attendance. Joel commented, “These were everyday men called by God to do something new. Often it was a long, slow process with lots of doubt and fear, but God met them where they were and showed them they could be more than conquerors.”

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37

Ken teaching

Pastor Ken Graves of Calvary Chapel Bangor, ME, exhorts the men through the life of Joseph.

Ken Graves: Joseph

“As men,” stated Pastor Ken Graves of Calvary Chapel Bangor, ME, “there’s so much about us that can only be explained by God’s design. At the same time, so much can only be explained by sin’s effect on that design.” Surveying Joseph’s entire life from Genesis 37-50, Ken highlighted six commonalities Christian men have with Joseph:

1. As Joseph’s father loved him (Genesis 37:3), so we are loved by our heavenly Father (John 3:16).

2. As Joseph’s brothers hated him (Genesis 37:4), we are hated by our enemy, Satan.

3. Like Joseph, we are a mixture of virtue and foolishness (Genesis 37:5-11; Romans 7:17-19). “Joseph’s dreams are from God; how he presents them is another matter. We must depend daily on God to deliver us from temptation” (Matthew 6:13).

4. Like Joseph, all men dream of greatness. “God put that desire there. He doesn’t say ‘Quit that’; He says, ‘I’ll tell you how to be great: everyone who humbles himself will be exalted’” (Luke 14:11).

5. Though you dream, you face a devilish conspiracy (Genesis 37:18-20; 1 Peter 5:8). “If the forces conspiring against you can’t destroy you, they’ll do everything they can to diminish the greatness you can attain to.”

6. Finally, Ken stated that Joseph’s story wasn’t about his merit; it came down to one thing: The Lord was with Joseph. Genesis 39:2a

“Brothers, do you not have that in common with Joseph?” As Joseph later told his brothers, all his suffering was part of God’s plan to use him greatly (Genesis 45:5). Ken challenged the men to view their own life stories through the lens of God’s providence: “Whose workmanship are you? How do you explain your identity? The world says you obey a desire, the desire leads to an action, and the action produces an identity. God’s way is exactly opposite—we receive our identity from Him. That identity leads to right actions. Those actions produce the right desires.”

He concluded, “There are many things we have in common with Joseph, my dear brothers. These are some of them. Your Father does in fact love you, has a plan for your life, and an identity He will appoint to you. He will show you who you are. Surrender completely to Him. Stop identifying yourself by what has been done to you or what you have done. Stop assuming the identity imposed on you by circumstances or heredity. Be God’s son. Be the man He had in mind when He made you.”

Bil talking with a man

Pastor Bil Gallatin, founding pastor of Calvary Chapel Finger Lakes in Farmington, NY, ministers to a friend at the Deep South Men’s Conference held at CC Lexington, SC.

Bil Gallatin: Daniel

“Looking at Daniel 6 verse-by-verse,” expounded Bil Gallatin, founding pastor of Calvary Chapel Finger Lakes in Farmington, NY, “we see keys for how a godly man can live faithfully in an ungodly culture. Because Daniel lived like this, even the unbelievers around him recognized he had an excellent spirit (v. 3). They were watching him (v. 4), just like you’re being watched by your neighbors and coworkers to see what kind of person you really are.”

...They could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. Daniel 6:4b

“I am a wretched, filthy sinner,” Bil confessed, “but I know one thing: I don’t want to walk on the edge, claiming to be a believer while messing around secretly. I want to be faithful. Daniel had this tremendous relationship with the living God. Where did it come from? As a young boy he saw his nation destroyed, perhaps his parents killed. His home, culture, language, and even name were taken from him; he was taken away from his family and friends. Instead of growing angry or bitter, he held on to his faith. His fulfillment was with God, not something he owned, freedom, or an easy life. That kind of relationship with God enables you to forget the past and go forward.

Ken worshiping

Ken Graves leads the men in singing an a cappella rendition of “Victory Chant.”

“Satan doesn’t operate any differently in Daniel’s time than today: he uses corrupt governments to try to stifle believers. Daniel’s enemies made an amendment to the Medo-Persian constitution (v. 8). How did Daniel respond? He prayed (v.10). Daniel was second to the king, but he realized that in prayer he appealed to the God of the universe who raises up kings and lays them low. Notice what else Daniel did: He thanked God. He knew God was in control. Daniel had peace even in the lion’s den, while the king spent the night worrying.”

At the first light of dawn the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. Daniel 6:19, HCSB

“The king was ‘exceedingly glad’ (v. 23) God had rescued Daniel,” Bil commented. “Who knows how long Daniel had prayed for this king? Because of his witness, not only the king but the whole nation had the chance to know the true and living God. Men, I believe you’re here today because you want to be Daniels. Then be ready to live faithfully.”

Bil, Ken, Mike, and John sitting at a panel discussion

Left to right, pastors Bil Gallatin, Ken Graves, Mike MacIntosh, and John Hoppe of CC Lexington lead a Q & A at the Deep South Men's Conference.

 

All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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