A Promise Keeper Allows God to Use Him

September 20, 2019By PK ManagerMy PK Story

Ten-year-old Steven is one of those kids the experts describe as “at risk”. His single mom struggles to make ends meet. Though he regularly sees his father, a convicted felon no longer in prison, that relationship has its limitations. “Basically what I’ve learned from my dad is how to blow bubbles with gum and eat Oreo cookies, ” says Steven.

During the summer of 1993, Steven and his mother, Barbara, first heard about Promise Keepers while listening to a Focus on the Family broadcast. “I’d like to go to that conference in Boulder,” Steven (only nine at the time) told his mom. She let the comment slide, figuring it was an impulsive reaction of a young boy who wanted to visit the campus of his beloved team the Colorado University Buffaloes.

The conference came and went.

Steven’s mom expected his interest to wane, but he kept talking about in the months that followed.

This led to Steven writing a letter to Coach Bill McCartney, coach of his favorite college football team and founder of Promise Keepers, explaining his desire to attend a conference. Coach McCartney invited him to come to next year’s event with his father and sent him a copy of his book From Ashes to Glory.

But Steven and his mother doubted his father would come along.

For two years, Barbara had gotten to know Tammy and Gene Gregory who brought their children to her licensed daycare. Of the families she served who would call them Christian, the Gregorys seemed to be living out their faith best. After a series of events, Barbara asked Gene about escorting Steven to the Promise Keepers conference. He saw Barbara’s request as both an honor and an important responsibility. “But I had no idea who much that decision would mean to me and my family as well,” he says.

Gene and Steven drove back and forth from Denver to Boulder for both days of the conference. “What an incredible experience Promise Keepers was! To be there in a massive stadium packed with that many Christian men was in itself inspiring. Maybe because I was trying to see through Steven’s eyes, I think I was as excited an awestruck as he was. He obviously was blown away by the crowd dynamics – the singing and the spirit of worship. So was I.”

When a man left his hat and wallet unattended for ten minutes and they were left untouched until he came back, “I know this seems like a small thing but the little things like that added up to make for one impressive testimony about integrity.”

Steven got a big kick out of Chuck Swindoll riding out on a big Harley-Davidson and then seeing Gary Smalley arrive on stage straddling a little tricycle.

“I particularly remember the challenge put to us as fathers: That our kids are the only things of importance we’re going to leave behind on this earth when we die,” he says.

“None of the things we accumulate or recognition we receive is going to matter. So we need to fulfill our responsibility to give our children the time and energy and affirmation that will assure them they’re special. And we need to teach them about God and what is really means to have a relationship with Christ, as well as to show them how to find guidance and comfort in His Word.”

Gene says attending Promise Keepers with Steven moved their relationship to a new level as well. “Steven know that I wasn’t there just because I was taking him. He could see that the experience meant something significant in my life and I saw that it was making a real impact on him.”

It was late before Steven and Gene got back each evening. “But the two of them were higher than a kite both nights,” Barbara remembers. “They were so up from the conference, it was fun to listen to everything they wanted to tell me. Gene said that having Steven there really added to the conference for him – especially the session where Howard Hendricks talked about the impact mentors can have.”

Being with Steven has made Gene aware of how much a boy needs at least one good example. “And it needs to be a man. Steven’s mom does a great job. But Steven’s stuck being a male, and he’s going to learn how to be a man not from his mother, but mostly from the other men in his life.”

The mentor doesn’t have to be perfect but he does need to be someone who is honest about life’s hard times and whom in the midget of them, doesn’t give up his believes but is true to his relationships with his family and his God.

Millions of men have experienced transformation at Promise Keepers events. Promise Keepers 2020 is back to ignite an intergenerational audience with truth for their lives, while standing on its seven timeless founding promises that created the legacy.

What’s better than an NFL stadium full of passionate football fans? That same stadium full of men who are passionate about following Christ, parenting their children and loving their wives! You won’t want to miss it!

Join us next July 31 in the Dallas area for Promise Keepers 2020 Conference. Bring a young man – like Steven – who desperately needs a Godly man in his life. Or, bring a group of guys, the men in your family or your men’s group.

Learn more about Promise Keepers 2020 Conference in Dallas

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This story was excerpted from The Power of a Promise Kept.
Copyright Promise Keepers and Focus on the Family.

My PK Story: Tim and his wife Pam

August 8, 2019By Vance DayMy PK Story

I didn’t want to go.

My pastor had invited me to Promise Keepers the week before, and I had said yes only because I didn’t want him to know that I was a fake.

I was 32 years old who attended church regularly, married to a beautiful wife for 6 years, had two incredible kids, and was making nearly $90,000 in my dream job as the youngest newspaper editor in Gannett Inc.’s history.

And yet, I was living a nightmare.

I was always angry.  I slept 3-4 hours a night.  I was in trapped in secret addictions.  And unbeknownst to anyone else, I had already attempted suicide several times.

I didn’t want to go to a “Jesus” event in Cincinnati, Ohio, riding in a van full of “Jesus” freaks singing “Jesus songs.”

But at 3 p.m. Friday, May 9, 1997, there I was . . . riding shotgun as the rest of the men were singing “No Greater Love” at the top of their lungs.

By 7 p.m., we were sitting in the nose-bleed section of old Riverfront Stadium, and I was wishing I was anywhere but there.

After some worship music, a speaker named Crawford Loritts came to the podium.  After telling a couple of jokes as icebreakers, he paused and stepped away from the microphone for several seconds.

When he stepped back up, he apologized to the 70,000 men who had gathered there saying that he didn’t feel very funny at the moment because there was a man there tonight who, if he didn’t get his life right with Jesus, he would not be alive in two weeks.

No one but me and God knew that I had planned a final suicide attempt two weeks from that night.

Needless to say, Crawford Loritts had my attention.  Or as I have learned since then, the Holy Spirit had my heart, and began convicting me of my desperate need for Jesus.

I began to cry.  I mean, really cry.  Like ugly man cry.

It felt like all of my hurt and shame was being poured out as God’s love and grace were being poured in.

The men in our group still remind me of the kleenexes, toilet paper, and paper towels they had to get for me as I sat there and cried my heart out to make room for my new heart.

Before Mr. Loritts was done, I began to make my way down front to repent and seek forgiveness.

The rest of the night was a blur, but I do remember the next day surrendering my life to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

In that surrender, I also answered God’s call on my life . . . as a pastor.

So my wife and I left $90,000 a year to make $9,000 . . . $11,000 below poverty level for a family of four.  And we couldn’t have been happier.

I have attended every Promise Keepers event I possibly could since then, but on that day in 1997, God used Promise Keepers to save a man, a marriage, and a ministry.

That weekend in Cincinnati still inspires me to be a “vessel of honor.”

I’ve been a pastor now for 21 years, and born again for 22.

(My birthday is May 11; my born-again day is May 10. . . Guess which one I celebrate?!)

I’ve told this story hundreds of times . . . and still weep each time.  And I would be absolutely honored and humbled to share this story at Dallas in 2020, if it be so.

All for God’s glory.

From Tim’s wife, Pam

I learned early in life never to open a door to a stranger. Thankfully, 22 years ago, I didn’t heed that parental advice and my life hasn’t been the same since.

The stranger was a man I had been married to for six years. But that summer night, the man who returned from a Promise Keepers event in Cincinnati was not the same one who had left our home. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” It was as if a 3-D, living and breathing version of that Scripture from 2 Cor. 5:17 had walked right in, ushered by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I could tell something was different the moment I laid eyes on him. I may not have realized he was on the brink of suicide, but I did realize he was a workaholic and our marriage was a mess. If it wasn’t for Promise Keepers, I would have been a young widow or an old, miserable woman. Thankfully, I’m neither.  I am the blessed wife of an anointed man of God, who has a wonderful marriage. I am also the mother of three children who are privileged to have a father who took the role of spiritual head of the household seriously and they are now walking in their callings. 
We celebrated 28 years of marriage in April. I praise God for Promise Keepers and for the stranger I let into our home. I can’t imagine my life without him.
– Pam

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