It's time for men to stand.
May 2013 – “You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything / You’ve got to be your own man not a puppet on a string / Never compromise what’s right and uphold your family name / You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”
Country music star Aaron Tippin released this song in 1990 as his debut single, and it is still popular today. Though a secular song, it illustrates an important truth that every man must come to terms with at some point in his life: “[I]f you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Phil Waldrep, evangelist and founder of Phil Waldrep Ministries is concerned that many men have forgotten that vital truth. Every summer, the Waldrep team plans and hosts the Gridiron Men’s Conference. This year’s conference, with the theme “It’s time to stand,” will take place June 14-15 in the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center in Birmingham, Alabama.
“We want men to stand not in a passing moment, not in a specific defining moment in life,” Waldrep said, “but to live lifestyles of standing in their commitment to the Lord.” Everything from the speaker to the topics were prayed over by Waldrep and his team.
Standing in the face of adversity
Waldrep said, “Men today are facing incredible adversity. They are losing their jobs, their houses, some are losing their wives to death or infidelity. Some men feel they have lost everything. We wanted someone who has felt that and still stood strong in the faith. That man is Fred Luter.”
Fred Luter is president of Southern Baptist Convention, pastor of Franklin Baptist Church and survivor of Hurricane Katrina. Waldrep said, “In one day, because of Hurricane Katrina, Luter lost his house, his vehicles, everything he owned except the clothes on his back. On top of that, his church he had been with since 1986 was dispersed across the country. In essence, he even lost his job for a season. Fred Luter had the closest Job experience of anyone I know and he never lost his faith.”
Standing in a fallen world
Most anyone in the world will recognize the name Tim Tebow. Tebow was recently named one of Time magazine’s top 100 most influential people of 2012. Time said, “It is the qualities that Tim, 24, embodies in his life off the field that truly set him apart. He is unashamed of his convictions and faith, and he lives a life that consistently reflects his values, day in and day out.”
Few men will ever experience the pressure Tebow feels on a daily basis. While not everyone will agree with every decision he has ever made, it is refreshing to see a man of faith stand up to the great temptation of living the life culture glorifies. He lives a life where he could have any desire answered by the world, and he chooses instead to stand for Christ and make Him the main desire of his heart.
Standing in the church
Phil Waldrep has spent the majority of his life as a traveling evangelist. At age 14, Waldrep felt a calling to preach, and he obeyed. By the time he graduated high school, he had preached over 40 revivals.
In 1984, a friend convinced him to host a youth conference. That one-time challenge grew to his ministry developing four distinct conferences: one for youth, one for senior citizens, one for men and one for women.
“At so many of the churches I speak in I see a glaring problem,” Waldrep said. “The youth are zealous to serve the Lord and they do it wholeheartedly. The women work diligently and serve Jesus with their gifts and do a wonderful job. But there are no men. I see a lack of men standing and leading in the church. But the few churches I walk in where men are leading have been the healthiest, most effective churches. In fact, if you show me men who are spiritually healthy in a church, I will show you a spiritually healthy church.”
Standing in the workplace
Dan Cathy is the COO of Chick-fil-A. Recently the family-owned chicken sandwich restaurant was attacked by a politically correct culture that deemed its fowl too foul to eat. The Cathy family was told unless they changed their stand concerning homosexuality, they would be boycotted. The Cathy family stood together and stood with Christ unflinchingly.
But even before the brouhaha over Cathy’s view of homosexuality, he was getting pressure to change the way he did business. Waldrep said, “The thing I most admire about Mr. Cathy is that Chick-fil-A has never opened on Sunday. That wasn’t controversial when they opened. But now they are getting pressure from malls and other places. But he consistently says no. They stand by what they believe, and they don’t want young people working for them and not be able to go to church.”
Standing in the home
Josh McDowell will close the conference. He is author or co-author of 115 books. His book Evidence that Demands a Verdict was ranked 13th most influential evangelical book post World War II by Christianity Today. But Waldrep doesn’t feel that is why God wants McDowell to speak at the conference.
Waldrep said, “McDowell knows the most about how important it is for a man to be a father to his son. He went through a horrible relationship with his father, and yet has been a wonderful father to his children. He can say that he knows what it is like to grow up without a father and what it is like to be a good father.”
Men know, regardless of where they are, who they are with or what role they are currently filling, they have the responsibility to stand. Matt Hammitt, lead singer for the Christian music band Sanctus Real, wrote a song directly from a conversation he had with his wife. Hammitt says his wife had to confront him and beg him to be the spiritual leader in the home.
The result was a song that says, in part, “Lead me with strong hands / stand up when I can’t / Don’t leave me hungry for love chasing dreams but what about us – Show me you’re willing to fight/ that I’m still the love of your life / I know we call this home, but I still feel alone.”
Are you ready to stand?
Gatherings make for intense cross training
Is a conference really worth taking an entire weekend away from home, even if the speakers are outstanding? Phil Waldrep said, “Imagine a visitor in your church who comes every Sunday morning.
“If he is consistently there, you only get to see him 52 hours in a year. At a conference, that time is multiplied. You can spend up to 48 hours with him in just 2 days.”
For more information about the Gridiron Men’s Conference and other events from Phil Waldrep Ministries, visit the website or call 1-800-374-1550.
PWM also creates weekly teaching videos that, according to Waldrep, are shorter than sermons, but longer than devotions. “We cover everything from how to study Scripture to the importance of tithing to your local church, to just about anything else related to Jesus,” he said. Watch the videos at youtube or get them by email (request at the Waldrep website).