By Samuel Lam
Trinity Church is asking all the men of the church to join this amazing conference dedicated to building men as great leaders in the church, at work, at home and anywhere else. It was something that was brought up a couple months ago and it sounds like a great opportunity.
By the way, it’s still not too late to sign up. If you’re interested in going with us, you can reach me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
When I was asked about this to see if this would be something that might be a good fit for the church, I thought it would be. After all, the topic is a great topic, the speakers are amazing, and this is something that would push the men of the church to really take a firm grip of their faith. It was perfect and it would be something I think would help all the men, including me. I was on board.
I also was and still am very terrified of the conference and what is to come from it.
Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.
That’s the tagline from The Shawshank Redemption. If you haven’t seen the movie, go see it now. You can read this post afterward. But if you don’t have that kind of time, I’ll continue anyway.
The theme in the movie is about fear and hope. There are two prisoners who become best friends. One is the optimist, the hopeful one who believes that he one day can be free. The other is one who is afraid of change, who is OK with the status quo and living out the rest of his routine life in prison. It’s only by experiencing the glimmer of hope does fear fade away. That’s the redemption.
It’s kind of the way how a lot of people approach big things. I know that’s how I do it. As much as I like the uncertainty and am as outgoing as anyone you may know, I still fear things. I get afraid a lot of times of what I already know being turned upside down. It’s natural to not want major change. But it’s also terrifying knowing that an opportunity was lost because of fear.
When I was a junior in college, I was a coordinator for my on-campus fellowship. We invited a speaker to speak on our first meeting of the semester. It was a local pastor and he was well-known throughout the community. However, the first words he said were a shock to all of us.
“I don’t want to be here,” he said.
He would then continue, explaining that he wasn’t feeling it. He didn’t have a smooth drive over to the campus. He wasn’t inspired. He just didn’t feel it.
This is me. As much as I know it’s a good thing to go to this conference, I am not feeling it. Much like the guest speaker, he knew it was the right thing to show up, but he wasn’t in the mood. He was about ready to just leave, afraid to go with the uncertain. But this is where the story gets good.
He didn’t leave because he trusted God. He had hope of God saving the situation. He toughed it out with God. That’s what made his speech so inspiring. By the end of his sermon, he preached a message of really taking control of our faith and really making an impact. There is no time like the present to be firm in faith and spread it around.
This came from a guy who had no interest in preaching and he finished with one of the most heart-felt messages I have ever heard.
And this is where I am right now with the Act Like Men conference. I don’t want to be there because I am not feeling it. I don’t want my safe little world to be shook and turned upside down. But I trust in God because I know what greatness lies ahead. I am hopeful that God will fill me up and inspire me. And by the end of the conference, I will be stronger, better, and with more control with my faith.
I am pretty sure I am not the only one that feels this way about this conference. Maybe that’s why some people have decided not to go. There’s this fear of what convictions or earth-shattering lessons will be learned. It’s understandable because I have it. But the reason why I will attend is because not of fear, but because of hope. Our God is a God of hope. There is no despair, no lost cause with God. Instead, God finds that glimmer of hope, harnesses it and turns it into something wonderful. Fear is gone. Hope is eternal.
^ Spoiler for the movie.†
The uncertainty is scary. But knowing that the end is glorious and wonderful, that’s why I go. This conference is going to be great. This conference is going to be uplifting. This conference will be life-changing.
I’m still terrified about what I may learn about myself or what challenges I will face. It could break me down to my core. But knowing that this is God-driven and hope-filled, that’s what excites me. I can’t be a prisoner of my own fear. I’m going because the hope of being changed forever for the best will set me free. God will redeem me.
Now that’s exciting.
This post is part of a series of reflections written by the men of Trinity Church in response to the ACT LIKE MEN Conference and the topic of Mens Issues within Christianity.
Other posts include: