The Top Five Things
I've Heard at Men's Retreats
By Dick Duerksen

The Promise Keepers movement got me started joining with large groups of men who wanted to know Jesus better, improve their home lives, and overcome addictions. That’s where I heard Jack Hayford describe how to handle the “Lust Temptation.”

“Just look the temptation straight in the eye and say, ‘I belong to Jesus. He is my Master, and He has better things for me to do with my mind and body.’”

That’s also where I first heard the 12-Second rule: “When temptation comes, pause and do nothing for 12 seconds. By then you’ll probably have forgotten what was tempting you. If not, victory is yours anyway, cuz it takes the Holy Spirit less than 10 seconds to take over your mind.”

One time, during a PK convention at the old RFK Stadium in DC, Bill and I gathered a group of a dozen other guys, sat in the second deck and gave out Denver Bronco caps. A couple dozen of really nice caps, each one signed inside (name and phone number) by the giver. It started many great conversations and prayers.

When the Seventh-day Adventist Church started hosting Men’s Retreat weekends, I attended a few, and then accepted a job that included leading Men’s Ministries. Since then I’ve experienced a special joy while leading out in Men’s Retreats around the world.

We get bankers, politicians, teachers, pastors, dentists, mechanics, farmers, bakers, and chiefs. We meet in summer camps, church basements, hillside sanctuaries, hotels, and places with snowmobiles! Young men and old men, rich men and poor men, all coming together at a place where King Jesus levels the field. Where we’re all just “guys, being transformed into His sons”.

Last weekend I joined about 130 men for a weekend of prayer, singing, small group conversations, zip-lining, and delicious food. While listening to the men sing and pray, I wrote down a few of the “Best Things” I’ve heard men say at retreats.

•  “Thanks, guys. Now I think I can go home and face the challenge of my wife’s cancer. I could never have done it alone.”

•  “Lord, you’ve heard this man’s prayer to overcome his secret addiction to alcohol, please walk with him as he fights this enemy. Hold his hands in yours, so there’s no room for a bottle. And help us all to continue holding him up with our prayers, our texts, and our calls. Amen.”

•  “Yeeeehaw! I’ve never had such fun anywhere in my whole life!” ––This was shouted by a non-farmer while driving a giant new John Deere 8-wheel-drive combine through a field on Sunday morning. All the men had been encouraged to bring their favorite vehicle to the retreat. One fellow came in his 1964 Mustang. Another in a ‘57 Chevy. One in a shiny new Corvette. There were also trucks, pick-ups, and one model train. However, the winners were the farmers who brought their giant farm machines – and then invited everyone to take a test drive.

•  “They let me sing today! I’ve always wanted to sing in a group, but I don’t know how to sing, so I’ve just been a listener. But today the choir let me sing with them. Wow! Best Sabbath ever.”

•  “You all know me,” said a young man in a wool shirt and cowboy hat, “I’ve grown up with most of you. We’ve had some good times together and you know my weaknesses. I need to tell you something really exciting. I’ve been making some new decisions about life and God. It all started at our retreat a year ago when we agreed to let God live in us. I’ve been doing that, and here’s what I’ve learned: Women look best with clothes on.”

He waved his hat, sat down, and the room erupted in shouts, hollers, and rejoicing. A standing ovation for victories won.