“There are turning points that change the trajectory of your life…”
That can be the negative turning points where either through the mistakes of our own choosing or the actions of others, our lives take a turn down a dark alley way and the damage is done. Or, through our thoughts and actions and decisions, we invite our enemy to sit at our table and engage in conversation with us. That looks like “You can’t trust anyone”. Or, “She’ll never change, you’d better move on”. Or, “A little pornography never hurt anyone”. Or, “You deserve to be happy and your wife doesn’t understand you and this woman looks exciting…” Or from a wounding in our past, he whispers, “You know, you’ll always be that screw up and failure your Dad said you’d be”.
If you’re hearing stuff like that, you’ve given the enemy a seat at your table. (more on that in weeks to come)
Craig McConnell had such a life. He never knew his father – he was killed in the Korean War when Craig was an infant – but Craig’s story is that of a fatherless boy who would go on to become a father to tens of thousands. His boyhood ended at age 8 when his Mom and step Dad sat him down to tell him his father was killed in combat. That was it. Never a picture, never another word. He was never told how he shared his Dad’s sense of humor or his love of the outdoors. And so began a long internal war. His step-father repeatedly told him that he was a seagull and that “all he was good for was sitting, squawking and shiting”. It took root in Craig. He spent 30 years struggling in shame.
After exploring the 60’s drug culture, Jesus met Craig at a Christian concert in 1972. He became a college pastor and he loved backpacking, wild beauty and going after the heart of things. He never fit in the traditional church.
At 36, he discovered his true identity and that he’d come from a long line of noble men who gave their lives for the Gospel. He discovered that his grandparents were missionaries and that his great grandfather was the first protestant missionary to Central America. Eventually he went to Costa Rica and discovered 50,000+ people crammed in a soccer stadium celebrating the life of the Patron Saint of Central America … his great grandfather.
And so, Craig took back his family name, McConnell. He let go of “seagull”. He reclaimed his noble legacy. All of Craig’s life, it felt like he was fighting a great battle. He fought the religious falsehood of the church and he paid for it. He fought to find his true identity. He fought internal battles with shame and diminishment. It’s part of what made him so beautiful. He kept fighting.
John asked him to become a part of the Sacred Romance tour and as Craig stood before thousands of people rescuing their hearts, he came alive like Lazarus walking out of the tomb. He said it felt like déjà vu of his great grandfather and father. At Ransomed Heart, he stepped into his glory. The retreats and boot camps, conferences, films and podcasts, he mentored men all over the world. He fathered people through those podcasts.
Craig lived his life desiring that his life would make a difference in the lives of many and he struggled to find that avenue to do so. But in his 50’s, God opened up the door and unleashed the true Craig McConnell. Through all his work, Craig touched more than 1 million people. At the last few boot camps, men would stand in line just to give him a hug. A woman he’d never met sent him a Father’s Day card this year because she said in his work he had fathered her.
Remember, this was once a fatherless little boy who struggled with shame.
Craig battled a lot of doubt about his ability to impact a lot of people but only when the stories are told in the coming Kingdom will be really know just how vast his impact was.
And so my question for you is “What is the story of your life?” Where is the shame. What are the mistakes that you cannot seem to shake? Are you diminished? Why? What has the enemy been telling you? And perhaps most importantly, are you going to continue to listen the great liar or are you ready to start listening to the Creator of the Universe? What does the Father have to say about you and your story? THIS is where we’re going this fall at Manschool. Please join us in the adventure. Let’s see what God can do.