A True Son



It’s been five years ago this weekend since I heard the words I needed to hear my entire life. It’s the same words I need to hear now too. I am still me after all, and my search for my real self keeps going and going. I’m like anybody else, guilty of trying to get my identity through so many things that really don’t matter. And even if I take the search to parts of my life that really do matter, they’re not going to be able to provide the answer I need.

It’s interesting, in our walk with God we hesitate to ask questions that we really need to hear answers to. Questions like “What do you think of me?” and “Are you proud of me?” For too much of my life, asking God these types of questions didn’t happen because it could have been too revealing. I wasn’t too sure I would like the answers that I would get if I did ask.

Back to five years ago. In the second weekend of November, 2014, I went to a Boot Camp weekend organized by New Wilderness Adventures. Many men like myself made the trek to the River Ministries Lodge in Rutherfordton, NC to focus on becoming the men that God made us to be. All of us showed up on different parts of the journey, but still the same one nonetheless. 

I didn’t know a soul going in, but I knew I was gathering with kindred spirits because the weekend was based on the themes of my favorite book, Wild At Heart by John Eldredge. I couldn’t wait to join up with other guys who wanted more of the freedom, passion and adventure that Eldredge wrote about.

The Boot Camp weekend was built around fellowship. Fellowship between all of us guys and fellowship with the Father. I experienced both in a way that I had never experienced before that weekend, and it was life-changing. I’m truly grateful for the friends and allies who are in my life now that all connect back to the men I was introduced to at Boot Camp.

The most life-changing part of the weekend, however, was the fellowship with the Father. We were presented with opportunities to spend time with God after the sessions, to ask questions and to hear answers. The questions were directly related to the deepest parts of our hearts. Questions that only the Father can answer.

I will never forget one of those moments, sitting in a chair away from the group, along a cut path in the tall grass. We were sent out to ask God four questions. I wrote down what I heard the Father say to each one. 

There’s a part of this experience that feels like your mind is just making the answers up, that you’re just thinking what you really want to hear instead of what God is really saying. But if you’re like me, your heart will know the real answer when you hear it. 

When I asked “God, how do you see me?”, I heard and wrote down some perfectly acceptable and great words but I knew they didn’t hit home strong enough. Who wouldn’t want to hear “Mighty” or “Victorious” or similar powerful descriptions? That was great and all but then I heard the Father whisper: “A True Son.”

I was so desperate to hear this, more than I can ever explain! My heart needed to hear every word, just like God said it to me. This is what I heard in those words:

A True Son = 

One of many. One who belongs. Real. Not Counterfeit. Part of the Family. Straight from the Father.

I was 34 years old at the time of Boot Camp, but the wounds from not knowing my father had been with me for 31.5 of those years because he passed away when I was so young. I had experienced the goodness of God in so many ways since his passing, but still felt aimless, directionless and incomplete. Deep down, I felt missed. Overlooked. Unfathered. Much different than A True Son who knows what he’s made of, who knows his identity.

On the last day of Boot Camp, there was an opportunity for some of the guys who had accepted Christ during the weekend to be baptized in the river beside the lodge. I had known Christ as my Savior for several years at that point and had been baptized in church two different times, but it’s not every day you get a chance to be baptized in a river, like the old days! So I asked to be baptized in my new name, A True Son. I will never forget the rush from Mark Folk baptizing me into that cold river water and then rising up to hear cheers from the mighty men on the riverbank. It was awesome!

Fast forward five years and yes, those old wounds are still with me. They don’t normally get healed overnight. But these are the wounds that can only be truly healed by a True Father. The words “A True Son” are still with me too. I remember talking with Greg Sailors about that moment a couple of years later at a bonfire and Greg told me that “God is still speaking those words over you.” I have needed that reminder so many times over the last few years. The good thing is, the words are just as True now as they were then. I am and will always be A True Son.

If you’re wondering why I would share such a personal moment like this, it’s only because I’ve realized that I’m certainly not the only one who needs a Father’s Blessing. We all do. Look no further than Jesus Himself needing to hear similar words from His Father God in Matthew 3:17, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” I’m just here to say that it’s available and the Father is ready. It’s my prayer that you are too.

 


013 – Wounds & The Dark Side of The Ring



It’s no secret that the professional wrestling has a dark side to the business. The TV Series “Dark Side of The Ring” has provided a fresh look at some of the darkest moments that many wrestling fans are familiar with. Wounds are made in the dark moments and they may stick around a lot longer than the story itself. On this episode, Alan shares about seeing his own wound show up in the story of Bruiser Brody and his son.


012 – Looking Back & Moving Forward on The Road to WrestleMania



The Road to WrestleMania will be ending soon at WrestleMania 35, but this year’s show has not had the usual appeal for many fans. Sometimes we need to be reminded of what we love about past WrestleManias to help us get excited about the next one. Revisiting our own past can help provide perspective on the road we’re traveling in life too!

Men, I want to personally invite you to the New 4RMations Men’s Ministry Battlefront weekend! Find out more about how God may be wanting to show you more through your own story here: http://new4rmations.com/event/mens-battlefront-weekend-2/

 


011 – What’s your 3:16?



After “Stone Cold” Steve Austin won the King of the Ring Tournament back on June 23, 1996, he told the world about Austin 3:16 and the bottom line. Austin’s words took on a life of their own and are still put on T-shirts to this day. Trouble is, we’re probably living with some words that we’ve said in the past too. But is that what God wants for us?


010 – NC Saturday Nights: Pro Wrestling & Blowing Up Christmas Trees



On this episode, Alan talks about how God connected two events he was able to attend on back-to-back Saturday nights in North Carolina: EWF Starrslamm and The Allies Gathering of Men’s Ministries. EWF Starrslamm was a night of great pro wrestling action and one of the highlights was meeting pro wrestling legend George South. At the Allies Gathering, men gathered, blew up some Christmas trees and heard Gary Barkalow speak about fire. This episode is a reminder that God is always speaking, we just need to be listening!


009 – Strong Style Fire



Stepping out into new territory always brings new challenges. Endurance, strength and confidence has to survive in order for us to get where God’s called us to go. Sometimes the only way to last is to fire ourselves up! An epic moment in a great match from New Japan Pro Wrestling captures Hiroshi Tanahashi showing the power of firing up in the middle of a battle. It’s time to unleash the Strong Style Fire!


008 – Coming Down From The Rafters



The Man called Sting came down from the rafters in the battle of WCW vs. nWo and the rest is pro wrestling history. In our lives, we may find ourselves in the rafters and sitting on the sidelines. The rafters can offer protection from the battle,
but we’re not meant to stay there if we want the abundant life Jesus offers in John 10:10. In this deeply personal episode, Alan shares the pain that pointed him toward the rafters and how God has led him to come back down.


007 – The Larger Story and the nWo, Part 3: The Hero



Like Jesus in the Larger Story, a Hero descends at the right time in the battle of WCW vs. nWo. The Man called Sting has his loyalty and character questioned. As a reflection of the darkness surrounding him, Sting’s appearance and personality changes. But the true motives of this story’s Hero are revealed in his actions!


006 – The Larger Story and the nWo, Part 2: The Betrayal



Similar to the enemy in the Larger Story, Hulk Hogan turns on WCW and professional wrestling fans on July 7, 1996 at the WCW Bash at the Beach Pay-Per-View. The New World Order is formed and WCW is in trouble. Chaos begins and nobody’s safe…


005 – The Larger Story and the nWo, Part 1: An Invasion



As John Eldredge reminds us in his awesome book, EPIC, we live in a Larger Story written by God Himself. Every great story has a beginning where everything seems normal…until an enemy appears! The professional wrestling world was turned upside down when Scott Hall made a shocking appearance on WCW Monday Nitro on May 27, 1996. WCW would never be the same again…