Men Gather at Calvary Chapel San Jose, CA, for Courageous Conference
Story by Carson Atherley
Photos by Gabriel Morales
In Joshua 1:9, the Lord commanded Joshua to “… be strong and of good courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (KJV).
Men who attended the Calvary Chapel San Jose, CA, men’s conference on March 13 were encouraged to be strong in the Lord during challenging times. Approximately 400 men from all over California attended the Courageous conference.
“Courage is a verb meaning to be determined, bold, courageous; to conquer. It is something that’s lacking today, just as it was lacking from the children of Israel in the days of Joshua. The Israelites lacked courage when they were face-to-face with real giants and overwhelming enemies. But the Lord promised that He would be with them, so they were not to fear anything,” wrote Mike McClure, senior pastor of CC San Jose. “We can claim this same promise for our lives today. If we step out in faith and fight against the giants we currently face, the Lord promises to be with us—and we can only experience this promise when we actually obey. No matter the giant or Jericho you face today, trust in the Lord and be very courageous!”
After the men enjoyed food and fellowship, Pastor Mike kicked off the conference by exhorting them from God’s Word. Pastor Ken Graves from Calvary Chapel Bangor in Central Maine led the first session.
Ken Graves, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Bangor, ME, teaches at Calvary Chapel San Jose’s men’s conference on Saturday, March 13. The theme of the California conference was Courageous.
Pastor Ken Graves: The Five R’s
Pastor Ken taught on “The Five R’s,” based on Acts 9: the revelation of the person and work of Jesus Christ, the realization of our duty, reliance on the Holy Spirit, repetitions of daily disciplines, and relationships God wants to use. “Few, if any, people have exercised as much influence on all of humanity, outside of the Son of God Himself, than Saul of Tarsus who became Paul the apostle. Much of the New Testament is dedicated to his story and what God did through him. These five elements should be evident not only in the life of the apostle Paul, but in the life of every courageous man of God today,” Ken declared.
As Saul was on a mission to crush the Christian movement, he was confronted by a blinding light. “While on the ground, face down, a voice calls him by name: “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 9:4b, KJV). Saul, likely pretending to be ignorant of what he actually knows, lifts his face from the dirt to ask, “Who art Thou, Lord?” (Acts 9:5a, KJV). The Lord answers him: “I AM” (Acts 9:5b, KJV). With that, he knows he is being confronted by the same God Who confronted Moses at the burning bush: I AM,” Ken shared. “Imagine what happened to his whole world, when “I AM” was followed by: “Jesus whom thou persecutest!” (Acts 9:5b, KJV). Saul realizes that in fighting against Christians, he’s been fighting God. What a horrible realization, but what a beautiful revelation! God is Who He says He is!” That realization, Ken added, changes us just as it changed Paul.
Ken Graves shares truths from Acts Chapter 9. “Allow the Spirit of God to change you … to work in and through you to accomplish what is set before you,” he exhorted the men.
“If we will have the proper revelation of who God is and what He has done, we will find ourselves, like Saul, suddenly realizing what our life has been given to us for. Every single talent we have and position we’ve been given is for the glory of God. It’s the least we can do.” I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1, KJV).
Ken then described the believer’s need to rely on the Holy Spirit. “If you simply have a revelation of Who Christ is and realize you have a duty to Him, but then go about trying to do your duty in your own human strength, you will be a frustrated Christian. Instead, allow the Spirit of God to change you. Allow the Spirit of God to work in and through you to accomplish what is set before you.” He asserted as well that believers need to increase their spiritual strength as an athlete does his physical strength: “There are spiritual exercises. Use them to train yourself unto godliness.” But Saul increased the more in strength (Acts 9:22a, KJV).
Finally, Pastor Ken noted that throughout Paul’s life, people played a part. “[God] could have just healed Saul of his blindness and filled him with the Holy Spirit, but He chose to work through Ananias. Likewise, the Lord uses people in our lives, and relationships are necessary.”
Attendees listen to Ken. Approximately 400 men from all over California came to the conference.
Pastor Don McClure: The Book of Habakkuk
Pastor Mike McClure introduced his father, Don McClure, a long-time CC pastor who now runs the teaching ministry Calvary Way with his wife Jean. He led the second session.
He reflected, “Habakkuk comes along at a very critical time in Israel’s history; and it was a time not very different from the time we find ourselves living in today. In the time of Habakkuk, there is a great crisis going on, and of course we’re living in the time of a great world crisis. In times of crisis, we often find ourselves looking for answers, but hopefully more than that, we are to look for instructions.”
Habakkuk was crying out to God and perceived Him to not be listening, Don recounted. “Habakkuk, at a time of great intensity and difficulty, was crying out to God! During this time there was violence, iniquity, trouble, strife, contentions, injustice, and great misery. The nation was unraveling around him.” But the Lord responded to his cry and assured him—He was working! “He would work through an unlikely group of people—the Chaldeans! For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, a bitter and hasty nation which marches through the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs (Habakkuk 1:6). How could a holy, just, and loving God use a wicked nation against his own people like this? It’s as if Habakkuk is saying, Lord, why would You use a nation even more corrupt and wicked than we are to judge us? I don’t understand this.”
Don McClure, a long-time CC pastor who now runs a teaching ministry with his wife Jean, Calvary Way, teaches from the Book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk came to realize that the Lord was in control even in the chaos. Near the end, Don encouraged the men: “So may the Lord just take your heart, your life, your world right now—what has maybe been turned upside down—and [may] you be able to say with Habakkuk, ‘I don’t need any more explanation.”
Despite Habakkuk’s terrible confusion, he recognized the Lord never was confused, Don continued. “He recognized, despite nothing making sense to him, that he was wrong and the Lord is always right. So Habakkuk set himself on the rampart and waited to hear from the Lord—he stood watch. … The Lord tells Habakkuk to be a messenger. All that Habakkuk was praying and longing for would in fact happen, just not in a way he would have thought.”
Nothing had changed; the Chaldeans were still the instrument the Lord would use to accomplish His work, according to Pastor Don. “But Habakkuk had come to the realization that the Lord was in fact in control, despite everything seeming so chaotic, hopeless, and lost,” Don reassured the men.
He concluded with a practical application. “I do want to be a messenger here in these confusing times. I don’t know how it’s going to work, but I don’t care. I don’t care in terms of eternity, because I know that the One who sits on the throne cares more than I could ever dream of caring … So may the Lord just take your heart, your life, your world right now—what has maybe been turned upside down—and [may] you be able to say with Habakkuk, ‘I don’t need any more explanation.’”
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills. Habakkuk 3:18
Mike McClure, senior pastor of CC San Jose, shares during the conference his church was hosting. His brother, Marcus McClure, shared his own testimony, encouraging the men to follow the example of Christ in their homes.
During the rest of the conference, the men congregated for a Q&A with Ken and Don. Marcus McClure, brother of Pastor Mike and son of Pastor Don, shared his testimony, encouraging men to follow the example of Christ in their home (with their wives and children). Pastor Ken closed the conference and extended an invitation to accept Christ and swear allegiance to Him. Many men stood and received prayer.
To watch the conference, click here.
Marcus McClure, owner of Inspired Travel and son of Don McClure, shared his testimony at the conference.
Pastor Ken (left) and Pastor Don make themselves available to answer questions from the audience during a Q&A session.
An attendee keeps his Bible open as he listens to a teaching.
Ken (left) and Don listen attentively as a man asks a question during the Q&A.
Q&A sessions are always popular at Calvary Chapel conferences.
All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
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