“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” -Ephesians 4:31-32
A few weeks ago 70+ men from Uptown departed Charlotte and headed to Montreat Conference Center for the 2016 men’s retreat. The topic of this year’s retreat was “Uprooting Anger.” We chose this topic because the pastors thought it was an area that could really benefit our men. We found out later that many men thought differently, saying to themselves, “Well that’s not really an issue for me, but I will still go.”
We suspected most men would think that, so we made the first night’s talk and small group focused on considering how big of a problem anger is. In the first talk Tom Hawkes lured us in talking about Righteous anger, but then clarified that although righteous anger does exist most of our human anger is not righteous at all. The thing that seemed to hit home the most for the group was considering the destruction that anger causes others, especially friends, co-workers, wives and children.
In the second talk Wes Andrews helped us consider what anger can look like. Many remarked that they were convicted when they realized that anger doesn’t always look like the angry outbursts that we think of, but rather it can look like internal smoldering, shutting down, judgmental attitudes, bitterness, pet peeves etc. God then used Wes to cut right to the heart having us consider and put off the underlying causes of our anger (pride, selfishness, lack of self control, impatience, etc.)
I had the opportunity to give the final talk, which focused on seeking change by turning to Christ in hopes of replacing uprooted anger with godly behavior. In order to do that we all discussed and committed to using a new system in our fight against anger called “A WRAP”, Get it, Anger…That’s A WRAP??? A WRAP stands for Analysis, Word (memorizing scripture), Repentance, Accountability, and Prayer. One thing that has really helped me is analyzing my anger by using a system that I called “The Incident Report.” Then in the last small group we prayed for one another, focusing on asking God for change in this area.
Reflecting on the flow of the retreat, it was great to see God use the talks and small groups to grow our men in their understanding and open ownership of this very common struggle, and it was a joy sending men out with a true desire for God to change them in this area. Personally, I have been on many retreats, and I can honestly say I can’t remember another retreat that I have thought about more after heading home than this one. Are you/the men in your lives finished with your/their struggles with anger? No! But can you see God at work? I hope you can say, Yes!
As I am sure you could have guessed, we also had a lot of fun connecting with one another. I will just mention two highlights.
Activities: Men spent the day hiking, fishing, mountain biking and shooting shotguns (what better activity to get some anger out). Joel Palmer won the shooting competition hitting 22 out of 25 targets!
The Man meal: The menu for this year’s man meal was ambitions and delicious:
- Deep fried prime rib (Who does that other than Wes Andrews?)
- Chicken bog (Never heard of it??? It is chicken, rice and smoked sausage, click here for more info)
- Venison sausage
- Steamed oysters
- Hush puppies
- Onion rings
- And…Deep fried Oreos
Yes…that was a lot of fried food, and yes, it was amazing. Wes and his team did a great job and everyone was thankful for another great man meal, which has quickly become a demanded tradition.
If you were on the retreat: How have you done with the commitments you made? Did you write your incident reports? Memorize your verse? Repent to your wife? Kids? Friends? Have you checked in with the person you asked to hold you accountable? (To the man that I committed to sending my incident reports to, I still owe you one, and I am waiting for yours too J). Have you been praying for God to change your heart?
If you missed this retreat: maybe you could benefit by listening to the talks located here or by reading the book we recommended on this topic Uprooting Anger: Biblical help for a common problem by Robert D. Jones, the kindle version is only 6.99 right now!
Thanks be to God for blessing us with such a great retreat. We were glad that the men agreed too. The combined average rating of the retreat was a 9.2 out of 10 and almost everyone said they look forward to attending again and would be willing to invite a friend!
Thank you Jesus for your blessing on the men’s retreat. Thank you for the teaching, the small group discussion, for conviction of the Holy Spirit, for the grace that makes us able and willing to repent, for your willingness to change us while still loving us as we are now. Thank you also for this great time of fellowship. Please continue to bless the community among the men of Uptown, and help us to spur one another on toward love and good deeds.