Hey Men, there is a great new ESPN 30 for 30 that just came out that you should all watch. It’s called the Gospel according to Mac, it’s on instant play on Netflix, or you can watch it on amazon as well. This a a fantastic story about Jesus and football and the man who started promise keepers. For you younger guys Promise Keepers was the biggest men’s move of God in history. At it’s peak we filled nearly every stadium in North America and marched 1.4 million men on Washington DC in the same year.
I read the book From Ashes to Glory over 20 years ago and reread it again recently. Awesome. I was at the record gathering at that USC Colliseum in Los Angeles at 108,000 men. It was pretty incredible. You haven’t lived until you have heard that many men sing How Great Thou Art, you’ll never forget it.
I also went to one in Seattle when I lived in Washington. It was my first year of marriage and I was working as a hay buck driving truck for a company that brought hay out of Eastern Washington and delivered to the Dairies on the West side of the Cascades. It was mostly all small bales back then and it was brutally hard work unloading hay in all weather into hay mow’s. it was hard to find guys who wanted to do it because it was such crazy hard work so it was a really rough group of guys that signed on. Months into the job I found out my boss was a Christian and I asked him “Hey Phil, I’ll get these guys to go to Promise Keepers if you’ll pay for it.” I did, and he did. I got all of them to go but two. He put us on a bus, put us up in a hotel and we went. Half way through they had an altar call and every one of those men got up out of our seats at the top of the King Dome and pushed themselves into the great mass of humanity on the floor and gave their lives to Jesus. They were crying, I was crying and our work place was never the same. That’s my story, one of many millions of men. What you should know in the back story is that Bill Mccartney, the man who started Promise Keepers was man with a past of sexual failure.
The majority of the great moves of God all through the old testament where preceded by removing sexual sin from among them I.E. the Asherah Poles and the Baals. Ahserah Poles were ancient pornography, and Baal religious prostitution. Gideon tore down the porn that belonged to his father and in the same place built an altar of worship (Judges 6). From there against all odds and outnumbered 1,000 to 1 took their country back and turned their hearts back to God.
One very cool thing that was not mentioned in the movie The Gospel According to Mac, but was mentioned in the book is that the National Championship that was the catalyst for Promise Keepers was predicted in a dream by Bill Mcartney’s pastor James Ryle. I love James Ryle, my wife Diane were deeply effected by him in the early 90s. We have a men’s group the just recently started in his original church in Boulder Colorado where Promise Keepers was birthed from. Pretty cool.
7 years ago Paul Young was in town speaking at a writers conference. Paul wrote the book The Shack which became one of the best selling books of all time and to my count the 3rd best selling Christian book ever. Fortunately I had a friend who cooked him dinner on his arrival and talked him in to speaking at Monday night to our men’s group. He cried his way through his talk, it was beautiful, honest, and vulnerable. One of our best talks ever. Why? Because The Shack was written out of past sexual brokenness and failure. It is a story of healing and redemption and it resonated with us all to the tune of 20 million copies.
Great things come out of the ashes of redeemed sexual failure. The testimonies of Paul Young and Bill Mccartney are our stories. As you work through the pain of your past and pay the price to get better know that greatness awaits you. You are not disqualified, but even more qualified because “he who has been forgiven much, loves much”(Luke 7:47) You are David, you are Gideon and we are on our way from Bad to better to great. From ashes to glory.