After a Few Years

Words from those who have walked in this message for a number of years.

Honestly, there was nothing specific about the event that attracted me to come. I was on my last leg as a Christian, or any other form of organized religion. I was angry with where it had left me…..disappointed. Everything was so cliché, and why were these people so excited about this Jesus guy? It really wasn’t for me, and I was done with it. I had checked out. The owner of the company kind of drug me along, and because I trusted/respected him I went along with it.

I didn’t know what to expect. I was filled with anxiety before coming because this wasn’t one of the comfortable retreats where I knew everyone. I promised myself that I would just get through this, and act the part so it could be just over with.

I found a life worth living. Finally, something connected with that desire that was deep in my heart that I never knew was there. God unpacked stories from my childhood that were still defining my life’s trajectory, and true healing began. I received a name from God that I never would have given to myself, and it was spot on. Sin was not worth the time we put into “managing” it, but we have a much bigger purpose than to be focused on it. Being a Christian is not some set of rules or principles to follow to have a better life…. it’s an adventure. You don’t have to give up what you love to follow God. He encourages just the opposite. Embracing life with God gives Joy a whole new meaning. Finding that we have power in the name of God, like actual power/authority to fight back the hidden world of darkness. It puts a whole new meaning to warfare.

Life had purpose. Small groups became not just some time where you get together to answer some superficial questions and judge those that share just a bit too much. It’s about fighting for one another’s identity in Christ, and their purpose. Not being caught up in the gossip or futility of Sin Management.

I would absolutely recommend this. If you are done with the fake, superficial, good-intentioned, boring, lackluster, nice, and utterly depressing Christian life, or any life for that matter, this may be the thing you want to attend. If you see yourself as more of a race car driver, than a prayer meeting leader, Great! If you see yourself as more of a hunter and outdoorsman than a church planning committee member, perfect! If you’d rather be flying a plane or kayaking down a menacing river than sitting down to a worship service, Me too! If you feel that you have given up and reserved yourself to being that well-mannered, nice guy and it’s killing you, ask yourself why?

. . . J.D.

I was attracted to attend at the recommendation of a friend who went through the event. I was told it was based on the concepts from John Eldridge.  I had recently read his book Wild at Heart.

I had no expectations going in. Other than now reading about experiences with men, I would actually be participating in them. If there were any apprehensions, it was maybe about not knowing where this was going to go. I knew we were going to dig into father wound stuff, and sometimes that can get tough.

One of the big takeaways was my new name. That was something I didn’t think I would get to.  The father wound stuff was deeper than I had anticipated and the resultant years of behavior that flowed from that.

The biggest change for me was that I was more aware of how my past had affected my present approach to life and how I related to people in general and my family in particular. Being a follower of Jesus brings immense newness to one’s life.  However, there are still some lingering leftovers from your old life that can creep in and affect you more than you are aware.  This event will help identify and deal with those varied issues.

I would very much recommend this event to anyone. Joe Badger is a skilled facilitator who was instrumental in helping me identify my various issues and how to effectively deal with them.

One last comment.   While this event helped my deal with some of my past father wound issues, it made me acutely aware that I might be/probably was, wounding those around me more than I knew.  Not only was I helped, but since I am the head of my family, my new awareness of the potential affect my words and past wounds had on my beloved family, they all, in turn, were helped and blessed.

 . . . J.S.

I read the book Wild at Heart and heard a new language and perspective. Attended a church that taught God only spoke through the written word, and Satan was pretty much beaten, so we had no worries, but I would hear from God and I knew darkness was active in my life. The book opened the door to a whole new set of possibilities, so I could not wait to see what would happen by going through the small group material.

My oldest son told me after reading the book himself, “Dad, this is going to get in trouble.”  By trouble I mean being at odds with the view that God no longer speaks and that spiritual warfare is overblown. Otherwise, I was excited to start, but I had no idea what would happen.

My biggest takeaways are too many to summarize here.  Some huge ones: God not only speaks, but He wants to be actively involved in our daily lives, which involves ongoing conversations. As a believer in Christ, I have a new heart, and it is no longer wicked. My old man still dogs me with sin habits (to quote Graham Cooke), but it is no longer who I am at my core. We are all wounded, and all wounds are strategic and tactical. The enemy is expert at writing lies and accusations on our hearts designed to keep us from being who God designed us to be, AND, God came to set us free (IS 61:1-3) of the power of theses lies and accusations. Then He affirms us and tells us our true identify. In this process, he can choose to give us a new name, the one that reveals our genuine self and purpose. It is kinda mind boggling, and it offers a freedom I had never known possible. I was not immediately set free of everything, but it did start me on a journey where He has been fathering me further and further into ever deeper healing. That journey has been incredible. Lastly, the enemy is an active agent in our lives. Asking to live not knowing how to engage in spiritual warfare is like sending a soldier into battle with nothing but a ham sandwich. It is foolish. It also explains why so many people are confused by what happens around them.

I went from being fearful, that I could not offer who I was, to beginning to believe that I was dangerous for good. Over time He’s refined and expanded this to where I’ve been dramatically remade, just ask my wife or kids. Its allowed me to love myself, as Christ would have it, which then allowed me to actually love, lead, and serve others in much more profound and honest ways. It greatly reduced my need to pose, as He’s been taking more and more of this away over time. I have a much more intimate conversational relationship with God. He’s awakened my heart to where it can breathe. By that I mean I can laugh or cry or experience or offer in much more genuine and real ways. It taught me the reality of the enemy and how to combat and crush it. This alone was massively huge. Lastly, its enabled me to become ever more of who He designed me to be.

Yes, I would strongly recommend this after seeing the changes in my life and in so many others. Unless you’ve lived life where every word, action, or presence towards you was kind and perfect, then this can make an impact.  Also, the journey is kind. There are no embarrassing moments or requirements to spill your guts. The process in imminently kind.

. . . J.B.