DAVIS—Stories of men rescued from the pit of despair after the death of his wife, plucked from the expanse of the ocean after accidentally being thrown overboard into a raging sea, having joy in the face of immense suffering of a young son dying of cancer, and being a curse breaker of generational sin inspired more than 3,000 men who attended the 2016 Rewired Men’s Retreat at the Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center April 29-30.
And that was before featured speakers Jim Munroe, Cody Bobay and Tony Evans even took the stage!
With “Truth” as the theme, and focusing on John 8:31-32, “If you abide in My Word, you truly are My disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” powerful, inspiring testimonies by Oklahoma pastors Rick Sowell, Choctaw, Choctaw Road; Blake Gideon, Edmond, First; Jeremy Freeman, Newcastle, First and Mike Keahbone, Oklahoma City, Cherokee Hills, set the stage for the event.
“It was a great weekend with 3,210 registered,” said James Swain, leader of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) Equipping Team.
“We had men from California, Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas,” confirmed Keith Burkhart, BGCO family and men’s ministry specialist. “The Church at the Met from Houston brought 174 men, and won the award for representing the largest non-BGCO church group at Rewired.”
“It looked like well more than 100 decisions were made during the response times,” Swain said.
Burkhart added, “I believe we had more decisions made this year for Christ than any previous year. Many other decisions also were made by men to be godly husbands and fathers.”
As if the testimonies by the Oklahoma pastors weren’t inspiring enough, keynote speaker/illusionist Jim Munroe followed that up with his own amazing story of going from promising baseball player to being given two months to live as a result of a cancer. Only a bone marrow transplant from a 19-year-old young lady saved him—the only match from a prospective donor list of 9 million people. Munroe compared that to the gift of Jesus, whose blood is the only thing that can save a person from an eternal death.
Speaker Cody Bobay, fitness author, revealed a background of being an alcoholic at age 13 and a drug dealer at 15 before he was saved at 18. He spoke of dealing with an addiction to pornography and the battle of the flesh waging war against the spirit on a daily basis in every man’s life.
The author of SOULCON Challenge, Bobay challenges men to:
• live in transparent accountability.
• commit to daily purity and flee from any lust of the flesh.
• live as elite soldiers for Jesus, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
• be vigilant, courageous, and to walk in the strength of the Spirit moment by moment.
The final speaker, Tony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, and chaplain for the Dallas Mavericks, spoke on Matt. 7:24-27, Jesus’ parable of the men who built their house on either the rock or sand.
Evans said the world is in chaos and while God has given us a rule book—the Bible—man has deviated from it. He pointed out that the two men in the parable both had the same opportunity to build a safe home, but one did and one didn’t, and the difference was wisdom. He added that all believers have the power of the Holy Spirit inside, but most of us don’t use it.
“The time is late, activate the power,” he urged.
In a deviation from previous Rewired conferences, Burkhart and the Rewired Team moved away from offering men the choice of attending three different breakout sessions and opted, instead, of directing them to settle into one of 18 available “Truth Tracks”—led by state pastors—where they focused on one topic for four sessions. Each Truth Track taught the men using four icons designed to guide them through the conference as the sessions covered relevant issues men face.
All of the Truth Tracks were captured on video, creating 18, stand-alone, four-week small group studies for men. The studies soon will be made available online, which churches may download at no cost. Each four-week study will come with a downloadable outline and reflection guide as well.
The Rewired printed program also contains a 13-week (90-day) individual devotional guide which men can use to take their relationship with the Lord to a higher level as they apply biblical truth in every area of life.
And, each church had the opportunity to get a copy of the BGCO men’s ministry’s Advanced Men’s Ministry Training Manual (AAMT).
“A war is being waged for the souls of men. It is time faithful men band together to reach and disciple men in their church and community,” Burkhart said. “AAMT is a process-driven men’s ministry model that equips men to reach and disciple men through the local church.”
The new format was a welcome change, if comments posted on Facebook after the conference are any indication. A few examples:
• “God continues to move through (Keith) and all of the teachers and disciple makers at Rewired. We had multiple men surrender to God this weekend. You are having a Kingdom impact.”
• “Another incredible Rewired Conference. Love the new breakout system and the bridge to next year’s conference it provides. This was my eighth year to attend, and I can testify that it gets better every year.”
• ”Last year, I left thinking God was speaking to me, and this year, I left knowing that God wanted me to act. Thank you so much for your efforts to provide an incredible experience every year. . .”
The men also gave $21,578.45 during an offering, which will support Camp Perfect Wings, an annual camp for children and adults with mental and physical disabilities organized by the BGCO and held at CrossTimbers camp near Falls Creek; provide resources to reach men and families, and the ministry of Hope is Alive, whose mission is to inspire hope, build foundations and change the lives of people affected by addiction.
“I want to personally thank every man for taking time to attend Rewired,” Burkhart said. “We witnessed an amazing outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the lives of men and Jesus Christ was glorified. And, I thank the incredible men and women volunteers who help execute Rewired.”