Today’s blog post comes from Brian Bain, HOPE Dad and member of the Men of HOPE mornings. If you’ve been wondering what the Men of HOPE meetings look like, Brian shares with us today his experience with current studies and what he’s learning from this community of men.
For the past four years or more, I have braved the blackened morning sky where nocturnal creatures rule and humans naturally should be in REM sleep mode and made it to the 6:00 a.m. Men of Hope huddle. I am no early bird, and I really enjoy my sleep; but every time the clock rings out like a four-alarm fire siren at 5:15 a.m., I manage to wake up, wipe the sleep from my eyes, and jump in the shower. As a sinner in a fallen world, I am not perfect in my attendance – occasionally I hit the snooze button and miss the fellowship – but I never regret the time spent with the Tuesday morning Men of Hope.
Sitting near the fire in Panera with a cup of Joe, we start each session by asking “How was your week?” Inevitably, conversation abounds and good discussions begin. Typically ranging from 4-8 men, we share things from experiences at work and in life to struggles, successes, fears and dreams. We feel strength just by sharing what we are going through, knowing that another brother is listening and cares.
As the Proverb says regarding men who try to tackle this world alone, “An isolated man breaks out against all sound judgment”.
For about 15-20 minutes, we talk and listen, eat and drink, laugh and grieve. There is something powerful and almost surreal about sitting around a table of men from differing backgrounds, ethnicity and race, with all different denominations of Christianity represented, listening to another man read the Bible out loud in a public forum.
As Paul reads, we learn, ponder and question, stopping at each paragraph or so to discuss what we thought we heard, how it applies to our lives, and discussing the impact that it had on us at that moment or in a previous setting.
A couple of weeks ago,
we had the most amazing discussion about baptism and how the disciples baptized early believers. We talked about how different baptism looks depending on what church you grew up in, what denomination you were raised in and how that impacted your view of baptism for our children. From reading about the Ethiopian being baptized, we spent 30 minutes learning about what baptism means to each one of us, and how we have had such different experiences with it during our faith walks. I learned a great deal both about baptism and the men around that table, none of which would have ever been learned had we not come to the Tuesday morning huddle.
About two months ago,
we were reading from Acts 3, and the discussion rested on whether we truly believe that the God that lives inside of us as the Holy Spirit has the same power to heal today as He did during the time Peter and John were performing miracles, just 40 days after the Resurrection. “Do we as Christians believe that?”, Paul asked the group. The Bible is clear that we have been given a spirit of power, not of fear.
A couple of weeks later,
in the second part of Acts 5, it was amazing to hear how people were lining up to fall in Peter’s shadow with the belief that he would heal them. I was staring out and Paul asked “it looks like you are pondering something heavy, Brian”, and I replied, “I was just thinking that it would be awesome if we had the power to heal like that.” Paul replied, “Yeah, what if we had that power…” We stared at each other for a couple seconds, letting the truth of that statement sink in, and then I realized that Paul was reminding me that we just talked about that exact fact less than two weeks ago. I smiled and responded, “Touche” my friend, well said.
That is why we get together on Tuesday mornings. To affirm one another that we are on this faith walk together, and to remind each other that the Spirit of the Living God indwells in us. Now if that doesn’t wake you up in the a.m., not much will!
This group is not a closed group, nor is it limited to just Hope Dads. We welcome the opportunity to share a cup of coffee with you and learn from you as much as we hope you learn from us. Now, if you are not an early morning riser, which trust me, I cast no judgment upon thee, then take a look at the Thursday evening group lead by Phil Roe and Ryan Ballew.
“As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another”
(The Men of Hope Tuesday Morning Huddle meets at Panera Bread on Concord Mills Blvd every Tuesday at 6:00 a.m. with the exception of the first Tuesday of the Month as we serve at the Brookdale house assisted living center on that Tuesday night)
For more details on Men of HOPE check out our blog post Who are the Men of HOPE??