I recently spoke at a two-day men’s event where I taught four times. So, there was about three hours that I was on the platform, in front of the entire group, doing exactly what the sponsors brought me in to do. There was, however, another 41 hours I was at this event. So, because I came to minister to men, all 44 hours except sleep time, I was at every meal, attended every meeting, hung out at every opportunity, engaging with the men that attended. As a result, I met almost every man, having some kind of conversation spanning from 3 minutes to an hour, with the majority of them. And I was blessed beyond measure because of it.
Near the end of the event, I began to have men, young and old, come up and thank me for my teaching, but many added “thank you for being available” and “thank you for being accessible to us.” On one hand, I was encouraged that it made a difference, while on the other, saddened they had ever experienced anything else. These men made it clear that, over the years, many of the speakers had chosen to be inaccessible. But guess where the ministry is? With the crowd, yes, but equally important, with the one. Check this out and then we’ll get to the point.
Crowd . . . Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom . . . among the people. —Matthew 4:23
One . . . Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night . . . —John 3:1-2a
Crowd . . .When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching. —Matthew 7:28
One . . . Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her . . . —John 4:6b-7a
In our crazy, busy, “I just don’t have enough time” world, one of the greatest ministries we can have today is simply being accessible and available—to the crowd and to the one. “So are you saying we should we be available to just anyone?” Of course not. But the real question today is, are you accessible and available to the people that God wants you to be?
Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it! —Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 MSG
Bobby Bentz April 11, 2012
I think you're talking about the men's conference. It was cool meeting you there and yes, that was the longest conversation an author has ever been willing to give me, along with the many other guys there. So I will say a big THANK YOU again Robert. And our 3 man accountability group is going well.
Robert Noland April 11, 2012
Yes sir, I was. It was my privilege. So glad your group is together and growing. Keep it going!
Tripp Lee April 11, 2012
Affirmation: "Our firm decision is to work from this focused center. One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in His death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life that people ever lived on their own. Because of this decision we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know." (MSG, 2Cor5:14-16) I humbly testify our good and gracious Lord has you, Robert, in the palm of His hand and continues to use you mightily in the lives of the men you touch urging them onward toward continued transformation more into His image daily. Keep up all the good work He has begun in you! And most importantly, thank you Father God, for this reminder to be accessible to those around us and to be bold for the sake of your Gospel!
Robert Noland April 19, 2012
God bless you, Tripp! You are always so encouraging and in tune. Thanks for your connection.
Robert Paige April 18, 2012
Robert, I hope you are doing well! Thank you so much for what you are doing - I am so grateful for your material and for what God has given you the talent, wisdom, and desire to do. Our little 3 man group is up to 7 solid and a couple more trying to figure it into their schedules. I would like to chat with you sometime if you get a minute about inevitable growing pains in the group..... Keep writing!!!! You might remember me- I came with Peter Rothermel to pick you up from the Charleston SC airport. Robert Paige
Robert Noland April 19, 2012
Hey Robert. So great to hear from you. Your words of encouragement and affirmation of my calling are so appreciated. Thank you! Certainly I want to help in any way I can. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll figure out a good time to connect. Look forward to talking with you.