On the Second Row… Man Fest 2017
Hey everyone, special guest correspondent Dwane Phillips checking in this week from WPT South. We had a powerful weekend, as the second annual Manfest took place Saturday afternoon from 1pm to 5pm. God blessed us with a perfect day to boil, and the competition between the boilers started off quickly.
We had 14 teams this year, and there was no shortage of trash talk or practical jokes among them. Duane Hollingsworth made the mistake of leaving his empty pot unguarded and returned to find it completely full of water. At one point, a small fish found its way into Pastor Jarrett’s pot, with a little help from Jimmy Keller. During the voting, Cliff Wilson was offering free lawn care to anyone who voted for him. Brad Lacoste was unable to defend his “controversial” victory from last year, but the new champions, Edgar Howell and Josh Guerra, were gracious and well deserving.
Check out some of the fun we had:
The real reason for the event, however, was outreach. We had more than 125 men at the church on Saturday, but from what I could see, about half were faces I didn’t recognize. Some were family, some attended other churches, but there was a pretty large group of men who weren’t attending a church at all. I spoke to a man for a long time that day who had gone through all kinds of hard situations. He had been backed over by a car then run over again by a man who wasn’t paying attention. He had survived an aneurysm that bled in his arm and took two surgeries to repair. And on top of that, he recently survived a stroke. All I could tell that man after hearing his story was to keep telling his story. I encouraged him that his testimony was proof that God was not finished with him yet. His story could encourage many others to find Jesus’ life giving goodness in any situation.
Never forget how important your testimony is. It may not include that many life threatening situations, but as it says in Revelation 12:11, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.” Besides the Blood of Jesus, your most effective weapon against the enemy is your story. So tell it as often as you get a chance.
The mood all day was positive and encouraging. There was plenty of food, plenty of sun, and plenty of encouragement to go around. The set up and take down crews did an amazing job of getting everything ready to go and then making it look like it never happened. Brother Bret Tessitore did an outstanding job of putting the event together and was a great host and MC for the day. Once the crawfish were eaten and the votes were tallied, it was time for the Word.
The guest speaker for the weekend was Ted DiBiase, most well known as “The Million Dollar Man” in the WWE. He brought a powerful testimony on Saturday, and many of us got to hear more of it on Sunday. DiBiase had a good childhood with a strong father in his life, until he was 15. The sudden death of his stepfather changed the dynamic of his family greatly. His mother became an alcoholic, and he began to listen to another voice. Initially, that voice drove him to be a successful football player. Then it took him to a career in professional wrestling. He had a strong connection with God as a child, but when he no longer had a father to guide his choices, so they naturally got worse. He became more rich and famous than he could ever have imagined. However, it also led to a life of adultery. At the height of his fame, his wife found out about his lifestyle. After spending years professing to his wife his faith but living his life on the road to his own standards, it all came crashing down.
Fortunately, he listened to the Holy Spirit that day and confessed all of his sins to his wife. By refocusing his life on God and taking it off of himself, he found the peace that passes all understanding. It was a great message of redemption and grace. He was given everything he wanted, but without God, DiBiase realized that it wasn’t worth it. Only through Christ was he able to regain the peace and joy in his life.
The weekend closed out with another message from Mr. DiBiase on Sunday, and in all there were dozens of people who confessed Christ as their Savior or recommitted their lives to Him. And when it comes down to the true purpose of Manfest, that is what we all came to see. Crawfish are great, DiBiase has a powerful testimony, but none of it matters without the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Well, everyone, we had a great Manfest weekend, and now we turn the page to one of the most special weekends of the year. First of all, Happy Teacher’s Appreciation to all of the educators out there, and of course, Happy Mother’s Day.
Hope to see all of you in church this week!