About the time I was starting to believe that the gatherings of fathers and sons at Firecreek Mountain in North Carolina could get no better, the Father shows up and elevates everything and everyone to a higher level.  He is amazing!  This past week we gathered with about 25 men from all over the country.  A large portion of the group was from Long Island, New York (pronounced: "Lawn-Gyland, Nu Yawk").  I fell in love with this guys!  They were so refreshing and open and honest and hungry for the Lord to do something in their lives and in their churches.  And God did do something!  I hope to have testimonies and even a couple of books coming from these guys soon!

I was impacted by this group and by the several fathers that attended.  The release of the Father through spiritual fathers is powerful and transforming.  Doug White, longtime friend and experienced pastor, had a profound influence on everyone present. Businessman from Tennessee, Charlie Greene, will be impacting me for a long time to come.  I thank God for them and pray that God will open doors for their wisdom and ministry to expand.  Dad was well behaved this week complying with our commands not to leave the mainhouse because of the steep stairs and the rough terrain.  He was indeed like Paul in Acts 28, under house arrest.  He rested and his strength is increasing and his impact on men is advancing even beyond what we have experienced before.  You will want to be with him as soon as you can and we will be announcing additional opportunities for you to do just that in the very near future.  If you want to see him real soon, he will be at the Encourager Church in Houston, Texas for Sunday, September 18.  More relationally focused opportunities are in the works.

Dad has had to cancel most of his upcoming schedule as we reassess his ministry lifestyle.  We apologize for this, but it is necessary as we create a new model for ministry that looks more like "come and see" than "go and tell."  We will all be blessed because of the changes with longevity and empowered legacy.

What I am returning home with from this particular gathering is a better understanding of a man with nothing.  A man with nothing has nothing to lose, nothing to promote and nothing to fear.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:3 that the Kingdom of heaven is populated with those who are "poor in spirit."  Kingdom inhabitants are men and women with nothing of their own.  They have either lost it, wasted it, had it stolen, run out of it or given it away.  The "poor in spirit" are the last in this world.  They are the least and the lost and the littlest.  They are the lowest and are willing to admit it.  That is their salvation.  They are spiritually destitute and they know it.  They are morally bankrupt and they embrace it.  They are nothing and they have nothing so they have nothing that can be taken from them because it already has been taken.

The "poor in spirit" arrive at this conclusion at their own expense.  They blame no one else but themselves.  They are not victims, but self-convicted criminals.  They are more aware than anyone how much they do not have and how insignificant they are outside the Kingdom.  Jesus once said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a "rich man" to enter the Kingdom of heaven.  You cannot enter the Kingdom with anything.  You cannot buy it or earn it or gain it in any way by yourself.  It is a gift that requires everything and leaves you with nothing but the Kingdom, but when you have the Kingdom you have everything.  You can have everything and not have the Kingdom and you have nothing.  You can have the Kingdom and have nothing and discover that you have everything.  It is a paradox of divine proportions.

A man with nothing is the freest man on earth.  Jesus said in another time that Satan had nothing in Him.  This was proven during the 40 days of temptation that preceded his ministry.  Yet, another time Jesus declared to Peter that the devil wished to "sift him like wheat" because there was much in him that the enemy could influence.  A man with nothing has nothing to protect and nothing to defend.  A man with nothing has nothing bargain with and nothing to with which to admire himself to other people.  He has nothing to fear because all he has is the love of the Father.

I am in the school of the Father's discipline learning to become a man with nothing.  It is the most liberating thing I have ever done, once you get past the initial shock and pain of losing everything.  Then you realize that it was never really yours to begin with.  Nothing was who you have always been and nothing is what you have always had no matter how much you possess or how important you thought you were.  God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  The past weeks walking through the crisis with Dad has opened my eyes to how much I really have in family and friends and the Kingdom and how much I really do not have, or now even care that I ever had.  He is enough.  He is my Shepherd, my Father, my Source and I shall not want because He is all I need and now all I want.  It is absolutely true.  If I will seek the Kingdom, first and foremost, and righteousness with Him, everything will take care of itself.  Everything else will fall into place.  God, the Father, delights in providing for me and protecting me and preparing me and giving me purpose.  I derive my identity from Him.  I can imitate Him and be blessed.  I have an inheritance from Him and His interest are becoming mine, as I too, learn how to be about my Father's business.

I have developed a fresh appreciation for the only commandment (of the Ten) with a promise:
"Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."
Exodus 20:12

I believe this is the key to our future.  God is calling is to be people with nothing so that we can honor the Father and our fathers with all we have.  As we learn to do this we will all be blessed.

tim