Few things stir my heart like seeing grown men embrace, make eye contact, and say "I love you" to each other.
Jared and I just got home last night (actually this morning to be more accurate ;-) from the LEAD11 conference in Auburn, Maine. It was every bit as refreshing and rejuvenating as I hoped it would be, (and my expectations were extremely high considering the key speakers were 2 of my favorites in the whole wide world, Matt Chandler and Ray Ortlund.) Each address/sermon/message/ whatever you wanna call it was full to overflowing with truth and passion and grace. A feast for the soul indeed. I loved every second of it.
But one of my favorite parts even as I reflect on all of the amazing teaching was watching at the end of the conference as men all around me embraced in brotherly love and spoke words of encouragement and honor to each other. Make no mistake. This scene held no weakness or frailty. Rather it was rich with strength, courage, boldness and Godly masculinity. These are the men who are strong enough to be vulnerable with each other for the sake of the Gospel. They are transparent and accountable in order to welcome sharpening. They are gracious and loving in order to offer support. They are honest and realistic about sin (their own and each other's) in order to press the Gospel into each other. They are forgiving, but not enabling. They are joyful and hopeful because of the Christ they see in each other. They are relentlessly chasing after personal revival, mainly because the desire of their hearts is to see widespread revival throughout their churches/regions/cities/countries, and they know that begins with themselves. And they are all "in this thing together," gathering themselves around the common goal of making much of Jesus in their own hearts and therefore in their friendships, families, churches, communities, cities, etc. They are STRONG and MIGHTY men of God, and they give me so much hope when I get to see them interact in this way. What an amazing blessing!
My heart will never grow tired of this scene.