Thursday, 4 November 2010

Men Walk Straight

On the 16th of October I attended the Canberra Christian Men's Convention. The speaker at this event was Mike Raiter who is the Principal of the Bible College in Victoria. The title of the conference was "Walking Straight: Being Men of Integrity" and rather than being exactly on integrity and what that is all about, it was more on been free from hypocrisy (which does have to do with integrity) and thinking about dependence on God and things that have eternal significance. There were four sessions that day where Mike gave three talks, from the Gospel of Luke and one session where there was a bit of a Q&A. The Q&A was a bit "meh" and I think Mike might have missed the meaning behind some of the questions, but the talks he gave were quite good. Mike was a good communicator, he spoke well, was down to earth and very easy to listen to. (A week before this event, I was at another conference in the same lecture theater, and it seemed that there was about twice as many men at this convention than there were for people to learn about Moodle - even when ANU offered 100 free tickets for its staff to attend...)

Mike's first talk was on Luke 12:13-32 where he challenged us to think about what ultimately last. God has made an appointment with each of us that may come at an inconvenient time, but regardless of the inconvenience He will call the meeting and we will make it. Mike pointed out studies that have concluded that since World War 2 people in the western world are more wealthy but also more stress. It seems that there isn't an exact coloration between happiness and wealth. Mike challenged us to think about being generous with our wealth and about our own eternal life. It is trusting in Jesus that lasts and He should be Lord over our wallets.

The second talk Mike gave was on Luke 18:9-19:10 where he drew a nice theme of dependence and asking for help throughout this whole passage. He saw that in the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector that only the tax collector was dependent on God, and that both men went away with what they asked for (the Pharisee didn't ask for anything). With Jesus and the Little Children, the point is that children are depend on their parents for things, so likewise we should be dependent on God. With the rich you man, if he was to give away all his money he would then have to be dependent on Jesus who he was then to follow. The blind man also is dependent and asks Jesus for sight. With Zacchaeus we see the impossible happen. Jesus has said it is impossible for the rich the enter the kingdom of God, but here Zacchaeus is saved. From all this we are to approach Jesus on our knees, humbly like a child asking for help. We are not to think in our pride that on our own we can be right with God, or that we don't need help in our lives.

The last talk Mike gave was on Luke 19:11-27, the Parable of the Minas. Mike challenged us to think about how we are using the gifts God has given us for His kingdom. We should engage to do God's business till He comes again. It is important that we do not lose the fear of the Lord, as sometimes we think no one can see our sins, but Judgement Day is as sure as our balance sheets. We should aim to touch people's lives for eternity and to be greedy for the kingdom of God.

The organisers said that over the past few years their conferences had been making a profit, and so to give back to the people who attended, they thought they would give us all a book, You Can Change. They even had to specially order the book from England and truck it down from Brisbane for them to make it to us on time. I think getting a free book made the conference one of the best I have been to. The book sounds like a self help book, which goes against the whole dependence on God thing, but we were assured that it fits in with the them of trusting in Jesus. The book is about $12 and on top of the subway lunch, I think I got my monies worth  for the conference.

Because the conference is run by some guys who aren't trying to make a buck (and who buy books for others with the profits they make), the conference audio will be online for free, probably appearing in this list of their past conference messages.

For more info on past Canberra Men's Conventions you can read my reviews here:
2008 Men's Convention on Ambition by Dave McDonald and Paul Dale
2009 Men's Convention on Tough Times by Al Stewart


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