We had 24 men present at Ox Strong this past Saturday. There was much to compete with in our community…the Prairie Burn Gravel Bike Ride, baseball/softball games, etc., so we’re very thankful to even have had 24 men available to meet together in-person.
Men…let me encourage each of you to go back and view/listen to Kevin’s testimony. The live video begins at about the 15:45 mark…I gave the guys a few extra minutes to finish their breakfast. Here’s the link to Kevin Clevenger’s testimony https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaLWxq7sFkk.
Kevin explains to us the journey God’s been with him on his entire life. Please listen intently to his story…how he was a victim of abuse (at what age? and by whom?), seen others abused (who were the others?), traumatized (in what ways?), injured (emotional scars, and injuries from being in the military), addicted to drugs, worshipping idols (martial arts), reclusive, fragmented (to the point where he was ineffective at home, in his community, and spiritually), and struggled with trusting the Lord and believing that He loved him.
And then listen to the specific ways in which God intervened…through sports, through his wife (who was spiritual and prayed several times to God on Kevin's behalf), through salvation, through the death of one of his children (mourning over that death, and over the death of his own personal innocence as a child), through confrontation and forgiveness, and through hearing God’s voice (“confront the ‘giant’”, “stay at the graveside long enough”, “take the medication”, “do you trust Me?”, “Grow Up!”, “plant your feet here in Grinnell”, “pray for your community”, “connect with Paul Aurand”, “go to Ox Strong and pray for the men there”.
Kevin wants us to remember that…
God puts treasures inside broken people.
When Kevin confronted his abuser…his abuser asked what he wanted. Kevin requested three things:
In great reverence and humility, Kevin has been following the Lord’s examples.
Hebrews 5:7-8 (ESV) In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.
See the underlined portion in Genesis 22:12 below “now I know that you fear God.” Fear and reverence go hand in hand. Those who genuinely fear and reverence God are the one’s who are heard, can hear and understand God's will and voice, and will obey.
Kevin has been praying for the men who attend Ox Strong, even before he knew Ox Strong existed. Men, we’re not in this alone…
Philippians 1:3-11 (ESV) 3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace,[a] both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Abraham was a God-fearing man who was so in-tune to the Lord's voice. Which is much the same reason as to how and why Kevin has been able to hear from the Lord. God knows that Kevin fears/reverences Him.
Genesis 22:11-12 (ESV) 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”
God reveals Himself to some, and conceals Himself from others. Be sensitive to, and in-tune with the Holy Spirit. Be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). Desire to hear His voice, long for it, and He’ll reveal Himself and His will to you…allow Him His perfect way and time.
Matthew 13:10-11 (ESV) Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
John 12:28-30 (ESV) 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine.
Mark 4:9, 23, 33-34 (ESV)
9…And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
23…If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
33-34…With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.
John 10:5-6…A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Practicing His Presence,
Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 3 granddaughters, a police chaplain, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter