Note from Ryan Sanders: Tim Owen saw the note at the end of most of our guest posts and emailed me. He also did the godly thing and asked me to lunch at Chick-fil-a. Tim made the drive to me and we talked. I'm sharing this post with you because I found Tim to be the dad we want more of here at Manhood Journey. Dads who'll buy me and Kent lunch and coffee.
I'm kidding. Let me tell you about Tim. Tim has four kids—about to be 5. He leads his church and a Trail Life USA group with his boys. In all that spare time he has, he pours into men—always writing, speaking and mentoring. I'll shut up and point you to Tim's letter to the church-going dad. But I wanted you to have some context on Tim. My entire lunch with Tim was him pointing me back to the Bible on any given subject. I want more Tim's in my world. I want the same for you! I thank God for him, his time in connecting with me, his writing this post and most importantly, his pointing me to God through his words and actions.
Read this post and be encouraged and challenged. God is at work raising godly dads.
Romans 10 quotes Isaiah 52 in a message about carrying the gospel. "Happy are the feet upon the mountain of those who bring good news." We can pray the Lord of the harvest send out workers. He will. And those workers, in these last days will suffer. They will give up family and home, go to uncharted places in darkness and face evil like we have never seen nor can remotely comprehend. They will be hungry, tired, scared. They will be persecuted. They will be derided, scourged, thrown in prison, beaten, tortured, giving of their bodies to the point of death.
Pray the Lord of the harvest…We can respond and go ourselves as He calls and we can choose to face these trials for the cross, to win the militant lost, to prove the superior worth of our Lord, to cry out with our own bodies and lives the ultimate joy of knowing Him! And such may be some of you.
But that is not the question the Mighty One has for us this day. The question today is, “will you parent the remnant?” Will you sacrifice your sons and daughters to usher in the persecution by sending them to live and suffer and die on the fields of harvest? Will you give what you have so they might give what they have to win the militant lost, love the persecutors, and offer their lives on the altar of freedom?
We men, we specific few here and now, we are their senders.
But how can we send preachers, frontier missionaries, prisoners, martyrs if they don't know the pure joy of a holy life lived in pursuit of the cross with all abandon?
And so much more, brothers, how can we send them without teaching them first how to find their way, how to scale a mountain to get to those people?
How can we think they will be able to walk hungry, to live in dark places?
How can they live among these peoples if we haven’t taught them to subsist on rations, travel with nothing but what’s on their backs, and to “lay aside the weights and the sin that so easily ensnares?”
How can we send if we don’t equip? How can we expect if we don’t train?
How then shall we pray the Lord of the harvest send out if we ourselves don’t give what we have for them to take on their journeys and to be successful in the mission He ordains?
There are soldiers among us.
There are a few godly men with the smell of powder on them. Some former slaves and prisoners who have the dank taste of dungeon still lingering in their spirits, haunting memories of the unyielding thirst for clean, cool water to sooth or a drop of freshness to wash the stains from their faces.
It’s these men—you even—He is asking to teach, to train, to prepare those who are being called to go there and beyond for the gospel. Then by purity, by prayer, by persevering unto life “[they] would walk worthy of God, Who has called [them] unto His kingdom and glory!” (1 Thess. 2:12)
So when they climb and when they fall, in abundance and in need, in affliction, in fightings, in fastings…that they will have the insatiable, unrelenting hunger for God Himself that drives them to seek His glory at any and all costs to themselves (2 Cor. 6).
Some of you have been there. Your past is etched on your frame and in the margins of your Bibles. What greater calling can men have than to show others how to receive the gifts of God as you did? Teach what you do best. Be here now. Be who God has molded, shaped, broken, remade, and forged you to be. Get out your swords and shields, shod your feet, tighten your belt, hold your battle stance, get on your knees and fight like men (Eph. 6)!
Brothers, we cannot send them out in "haste" (Isaiah 52:12) but we must first train them to go, to live, to be holy, to be witnesses of His great power and presence! This we MUST do. “For the hour approaches and yet is at hand” where the call of the Lord of the Harvest is ringing in our sons' and daughters' ears. We must hone their listening and steel their resolve to hear and know His voice and to obey joyously His command.
We must also train their eyes to perceive the ways of the Lord in the world around them, to accustom them to the darkness that they might know without question His touch when they cannot see, and to rely on Him in whatever clime or cleft to their advantage, health, well-being and success in His power.
We must show them how to live through it, in spite of it, and be overcomers in all circumstances. We must teach them what we know in how to not only survive but thrive in whatever state, to call on Him by faith Who is light when there is nothing around them but shadow.
"What's that I hear?! Is that a SHOUT?! Is that a TRUMPET?!" The war is shifting, brothers, and it rages as white hot as ever before. The enemy has brought it here, to our doorstep, into our very homes and families. The final battles draw near. But our little ones are not ready. They are not ready. They aren't. We need them to prepare, here, now. And soon they’ll be called to go out there, beyond the mountain where the unreached die without hope. Don't send them unprepared!
So what first steps?
Well, prayer is not preparation for battle…it IS the battle. Pray with me. Then be warriors and prisoners and slaves and farmers and fishermen and teachers for Christ. Garner your battle scars and describe the victories and let them learn from the losses. Train them, fill them with outdoor skills, world skills, life skills, people skills, Bible skills, language skills, witnessing skills, whatever skills to their benefit out beyond the ridge. Train them with knowledge of the holy, with the power of purity, with the constancy of prayer. Infect them with urgency, admonish them with excitement, instill in them the joy of salvation and the urge for adventures in faith. Let this mark your way from this day forward. Let it tune your ears and tender your steps and set resolve in your very bones.
Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory
…I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel: As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, Since God is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet! Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, While God is marching on.
He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave, He is Wisdom to the mighty, He is Succour to the brave,
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave, Our God is marching on.
God is on the move. I can feel it, I can see it. The mountains are heaving in anticipation for many feet. He’s going to take many, even from among us. Some to failure, some to loss, some to disaster, some to unnecessary death, some to quitting.
Don’t let that be my kids or yours. Give them what you have and let God take them further. Each of you has something they need, something they don’t know about, something God can amplify and advance for His kingdom. Join with me in joy, solemnity, purpose, hope, faith, conviction, and watch Him move like none of us have seen or even imagined in our lifetime.
I charge you to do two things with utmost clarity.
First, ask Him even now to reveal His hand, His heart, and His purpose to you and your place in it. Second, search all you have—knowledge, training, talents, skills, gifts, emotions, inklings, experience, relationships, resources, treasures, goals, ideas, imaginations—and see if your sense of adventure isn’t sparked and can’t set them ablaze with excitement for what God can do.
I don’t have permission to tell you what exactly to pray, whether to stand or jump, where to plug in, how to go about teaching and training. This is merely the “Awake! Awake! Zion” call (Isa. 52). For now, I can admonish you that it’s going down, so “for the end of all things is near; therefore be sober and watchful unto prayer.” (1 Peter 4:7) Time for the big boys to swing away.
Homework: Read 2 Peter 1, Titus 2, Colossians 1, Galatians 6:14, Psalms 126:5-6.
About the author > Tim Owen
Tim is a husband of one, father of four (soon to be 5 with an adoption from Haiti). He's focused on training boys to be godly men through Trail Life USA as a local Troop Chaplain & Adventurer Advisor and on various national committees. In his spare time, Tim serves as a contractor to several Federal agencies and corporations focusing on next generation computing platforms, secure networking architectures & critical infrastructure protection.