The 2016 Stronger Men’s Conference has come and gone, and with it, many men’s lives have been changed, both young and old.
During conferences, whether for business or personal I like to take A LOT of notes. In fact, I take notes so often that I carry a handy, dandy Field Notes in my wallet. My wife thinks I’m a nerd, and I am so it’s okay.
The Stronger Men’s Conference was no exception when it came to note-taking; I went through nearly an entire notebook in two days!
Here are a couple of the pages:
As with any conference, there are a few BIG ideas that are shared and pretty much dominate the weekend. I don’t plan to go through everything that was talked about, but rather the points that stuck most with me (and the ones that were underlined the most in my notes.)
The Conference featured three main speakers with a few short guest sessions.
The speakers were:
- John Lindell – Lead Pastor at James River Church in Springfield, Mo.
- John Gray – Associate Pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Tx.
- Josh Kimes – Pastor at Hillsong NYC
- Chris Harris Jr. – Denver Broncos
- Chris Long – New England Patriots
- Chad Williams – US Navy Seal
1. Surround Yourself with Godly Men
This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I’ve seen what isolation can do to a man and in the same sense what surrounding yourself with Christian men with ambition can do.
John Gray opened with a discussion titled “Going the Distance.” You don’t have to be in the room long to realize John is a natural-born evangelist and as such, there were many motivational lines to be had.
One of my favorite analogy’s regarding surrounding yourselves with men came from John equating animals in the wild.
“Predators attack the animal that is alone.”
This was a great analogy in my mind as satan can and will attack the man who isolates himself and has no shoulder to lean on.
John went on to say that, “authentic Christian manhood cannot be lived alone.” Authentic Christian manhood as described by John and one in which I wholeheartedly agree with is one in which you pursue God without abandon.
Too often in today’s society, Christian men are suppressed and told not to have an opinion, or not share what they believe. Real Christian manhood is one in which you live your beliefs out everyday, in every way. John Gray made this evident IMMEDIATELY in his speaking, and you can tell it’s something he’s passionate about.
Hearing this reminded me of Matthew 5:15,
“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” – Matthew 5:15
Because AUTHENTIC Christian manhood is one in which you let your shine at all times, you will face opposition, and like John’s analogy, you will face predators. In those times, you will need men to surround you like Jesus did with his disciples, and more specifically, Peter, James, and John.
John Gray later went on to speak on this topic again in his closing message and used Luke 5:19 as the backdrop.
“When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.” – Luke 5:19
John talked about the friends who helped carry the paralytic and urged us to be there for our brothers. It was a powerful message that was made even more powerful as I looked to my left and right and saw 10 of my closest friends all seeking after God’s will for their lives.
“TEAR THE ROOF OFF” John Gray exclaimed in relation to seeking Jesus and helping your fellow brother.
Josh Kimes spoke briefly on the subject as well and used Proverbs 27:17 to illustrate the importance of hanging around BIG people.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
Whenever I hear this verse, I am immediately drawn back to Solomon in Ecclesiastes 10:10,
“If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.” – Ecclesiastes 10:10
Although I don’t think the main message behind this verse relates to Proverbs 27:17, I do believe you have to be careful who you’re sharpening yourself against and if someone is “dull” you will have to work that much harder.
2. Words Have Power
John Lindell absolutely brought it (as usual) to his session on the “3 Conversations Every Stronger Man Needs to Have.”
The words we speak not only to others but also ourselves have a tremendous impact on everything in our life and the lives of those around us.
“We create the context in our life by the words we speak!” exclaimed John as he opened the session. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to John speak from the time I was a baby and one thing I’ve noticed about John is what a great business man he is. The reason I say this is that in business as in life, we must motivate ourselves to push forward.
John first talked about the conversation we have with ourselves and claimed that what we say has a lot to do with what we are accomplishing. For my life, this has great truth, and one of the tips John gave and one I implement into my own life is positive self-talk.
Looking yourself in the mirror while you’re shaving or getting ready and telling yourself, “you are a son of God” and that “God goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, giving you the victory!”
This self-talk is completely different from what the majority of society does. You constantly hear people muttering negative things to themselves, and as such they live in a state of failure.
In order to provide a visual for the audience, John brought up a young man on stage asking him to repeat after him:
“I am a failure.”
“I do not belong.”
“I am average.”
John then had the young man hold out both arms and resist John from pressing them down to his sides. With ease, John was able to drop the man’s arms.
John then repeated the experiment and had the man say:
“I am a son of God.”
“God has created a way for me.”
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Once again John asked the man to raise his arms, and with all of John’s might, he was unable to press the man’s hands down.
I’ve seen this demonstration before, but it truly does illustrate the importance of positive self-talk.
The next conversation John spoke on was the conversation we have with others and used Proverbs 10:21,32 to illustrate the importance.
“The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of sense.” – Proverbs 10:21
“The lips of the righteous know what finds favor, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.” – Proverbs 10:32
You can absolutely tear people down with the words you speak, but on the other side of the coin, you can make a person feel strong and loved.
Everybody has somebody in their life that is constantly saying negative things. These people are not only awful to be around, but you leave feeling like theirs a 10 lb. weight on your head. You also probably have somebody who is uplifting and breathes life into your life. Be the life breather, not the life sucker.
The final conversation John spoke on was the conversation we have with God.
John used many verses to illustrate the importance and how to have a conversation with God. The verse that spoke most to me was Mark 11:20-24.
“As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. Being reminded, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” – Mark 11:20-24
This is a set of verses I plan to memorize as I believe their significance is outstanding to my life.
“Have faith in God,” Jesus says. Believe that what you say will happen, not by your will, but His. Use faith-filled speech and believe that what you ask for from God will come to fruition. The Son of God says, “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and DOES NOT doubt in his heart, it will be GRANTED to him.”
3. Have a “No Matter What” Mentality
This session from Josh Kimes fired me up.
I’m a type-A brained person like probably many of you reading this and there’s little that gets me going more than somebody telling me to pursue something, no matter what the cost. Thankfully at a young age, I was mentored to seek God and his calling “no matter what” rather than the earthly desires of my flesh.
Josh used Matthew 9:27-31 as the backdrop for why we are called to live with a “no matter what” mentality. In the verses, two blind men call out to Jesus and even follow him continuing to cry out and receive healing of their eyesight. They were seeking after healing no matter what the cost and as such, Jesus granted it by asking them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
When the blind men replied, “yes, Lord” they received healing and as Jesus said, “according to your faith, let it be done to you.” This is how we are called to live; full on and believing that God can do miracles in our lives each and every day.
The final thing Josh said that stood out to me was his claim that bold belief is greater than bold behavior.
Belief > Behavior
We are called to believe with expectation and have the confidence that what we ask for will be granted to us. Be bold in your beliefs!
The 2016 Stronger Men’s Conference was truly remarkable.
Not only was there tons of entertainment (including a Ninja Warrior Course) but the messages were spot on. I would highly suggest for those reading this who haven’t attended yet to make plans for 2017.
The best is yet to come.
Yours in Ambition,