“Give us gladness in proportion to our misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!”
ARBORETUM: a plot of land on which many different trees or shrubs are grown for study or display. A “tree-garden,” 1838, from L., lit. “a place grown with trees,” from arbor “tree,” of unknown origin
· [ahr-buh-ree-tuhm] from Latin, from arbor tree
· noun, plural ar·bo·re·tums, ar·bo·re·ta [-tuh]
· Origin: 1830–40; < Latin arborētum a plantation of trees, equivalent to arbor tree + -ētum suffix denoting place where a given plant grows.
The seed that was planted in my mind concerning 40 men coming together as one was delivered to me by Charles Stanley in the fall of 2012.
I listen to Charles Stanley, Charles Swindoll and Ravi Zacharias as much as I can. I’ve been listening to Stanley and Swindoll since 1999, and Ravi since the summer of 2006.
I can still remember the first words I ever heard from Dr. Zacharias. It was early one Saturday morning and I was driving to play golf with my father. As I was thinking about what club I was going to hit on the first tee box a distinctive voice with an Indian accent began to fill the quietness in my car. His words, and accent, gave me pause. The combination of his intellect, communication abilities and his accent, coupled with the passion of his delivery, was gripping.
To this day, I remember the topic I listened to him speak upon at 6:15 in the morning: Unplugging the Truth in a Morally Suicidal Culture (RZIM).
I still listen to that talk he gave to a group of physicians concerning the desire of a secular society wanting not only for the believer to applaud and support its immorality, but to also celebrate it. It was that very day I decided I wanted to grow in my knowledge, and faith, of, and in, Jesus Christ, and with that, gain the ability to clearly communicate what I believe and why I believe it.
In the end, I owe that to myself and to anyone that would bother, or care to, listen to me concerning my faith in Jesus Christ.
But as I mentioned earlier it was the words of Dr. Stanley that profoundly spoke to me concerning the task of gathering “forty” men, 40 Godly men. Dr. Stanley said he got on his knees and prayed for 40 Godly men to journey with him, to pray with him, and to become intimately closer to God with him.
He believed that as a leader of a church there would no be no way he would survive and succeed without these “40″ men.
As I listened to the sermon he preached to a group of seminar students in 1989 I understood that this is what I needed to do. His words resonated with me to such a degree that I knew that this was something I was going to do, and I was going to find 39 other men that were going to do it with me.
I knew the time was now, and as I type these words my belief is ever increasing, speaking truth to my spirit; to my soul, that this will be done.
I believe His will will be done in this situation because of the fact lives will be forever changed, not because of one man’s vision, but because of 40 men coming together with the single goal of encouraging others, men that will display the courage to encourage.
40 men having the courage to encourage…
Our vision is our mission.
Our vision is to have courage. Our mission is to encourage. Our prayer is for God’s favor in enabling us to have the courage to encourage others, as well as, our selves.
Specifically, our goal is this: each man will pray for one male that they would like see come to know Jesus Christ in a personal way. The person I will be praying for will be Craig Birkhead (and Joe Ceravolo… I know I said “one” person…). Craig has been a long time friend for more than 37 years. Joe has been my other best friend for over 25 years.
We will pray, individually and collectively, for men like these two to accept Jesus Christ into their heart because we know and understand the transformation that will occur in each man’s heart, as well as, the changed destiny that will occur in many generations to come because of one man’s acceptance of Jesus Christ as his personal savior. Once he accepts Jesus Christ into his heart we will introduce him to our group and invite him to become part of Arboretum.
We will pray together, shed tears together and encourage each other together.
At the end of the day, we will walk in each other’s shoes, seeking impact over impression. We want to impact others lives through encouragement with the praise and glory going to God and to the marvelous plan that He has for each one us, a plan that is built upon the foundation of His mercy and grace.
· 40 men