This past Sunday night (16th) I had the privilegeof being witha newly formed men’s group in my son Kurt’s neighborhood in Kansas City.  What a joy to be with young men who felt they are being called together to grow in their faith.  I sensed a desire to go further and deeper in their relationship with Jesus.  These men seemed to be gathering behind “enemy lines” determined to take back their neighborhood for God and their families.  The word “valor” comes to mind.   Webster describes valor as “to be strong”; to have “marked courage.”  I sensed these men were wanting to step out of the “crowd” not sure what it involve but wanting to be identified as a follower of Jesus;  men who are willing to humbly and loving follower wherever Jesus will lead.

This morning as I think about those men the words from Rev. 3:18-21 come to mind.  This is from The Message.  “Here’s what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that’s been through the refinersfire.  Then you’ll be rich.  Buy clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven.  You’ve gone around half-naked long enough.  And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see…..The people I love, I call to account – prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best.  Up on your feet, then!  About face!  Run after God!….. Look at me, I stand at the door.  If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you.  Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father.  That’s my gift to the conquerors.” 

Here are three ideas from this passage as it relates to all men, not just the men in Kurt’s backyard.  First, men in our day need to be convinced that God can outfit them with what they need for the journey. There is “gold” that will make them rich.  But notice it has been purifiedthrough fire.  The gold is that of a purified heart having been tested in daily living. God can turn personal adversity into gold.  Men will also buy “clothes designed in heaven” having come to the realization that they are half-naked.  The spirit of God will outfit men withthe character of Christ that fits them uniquely for his journey, allowing a man to walk in confidence.  There will be medicine for the spiritual eyes so men can really see what is happening in their lives.  Men will be able to discern what is truth, not having to stumble in the dark. 

Secondly, is the reminder that we will be prodded, corrected and guided for our own good.  So men, it is time to get into training for the next phase of the journey.  We are to turn from our wanderings, be up on our feet and running after what God has for us.  It is not a time of be passive, disengaged or discouraged.  There is a call to get engaged.  Remember, Jesus will discipline us in love for our own good.  Men need to encourage other men to know how they are being formed “for a time such as this.”  Brothers will be found fighting  for each other’s hearts.  Being “the lone ranger” spiritually will cut it in the days to come 

The third thought is this – when we let Jesus into the deepest places of our heart, we will be honored as conquerors.  He waits to be invited into those places within where there is shame, pain and darkness.  Table fellowship at the head table means deep, trusting, and intimate fellowship.  We have a place of honor at the table, in the presence of the Father and the Son,  because Jesus has made it possible.  I can not stress enough the importance of doing our “soul-work” as men.  A “brave heart” is formed through intimate fellowship with Jesus, who helps us to be conquerors, as we face the deepest fears and questions in our hearts.