My PK Story – A Note from John

March 27, 2020By PK ManagerMy PK Story No Comments

I went to PK in 1999 as a bratty twenty year old agnostic and came out knowing for sure who my maker was.

We were printing instruction manuals for Microsoft MSDN Subscribers back then. It was growing like crazy so a guy named Shawn was sent out to my shop to walk through and make sure that our ISO procedures were in place.

The same morning, I received a package from FedEx and it contained a hard cover King James Study Bible with a note on the inside front cover that read: “John, I know you don’t believe it…but God loves you and wants to have a relationship with you. I’ll always love you.”

It was from my high school girlfriend. I’d recently broken up with her, mostly because she had professed faith in Jesus and hoped I would “make some changes” that included no sex, booze or bad language. Upon opening the Bible and reading the note, I threw it across my office and it hit the far wall and landed open on a table.

I put my head down and kept preparing for Shawn’s visit. At 2:00 sharp, in he walked. He had a big smile and a bigger belly.

“Well hey John! This is going to be easy-peasy. Just a quick walk through and then…what’s this?” He saw the open Bible. “Well, I guess I didn’t realize you were a believer…that should make this even easier than I thought!”

Then he sat down and wanted to talk about Jesus. I faked Christian the best I could but he was relentless. By the end of our time together, he had gotten a commitment from me to have lunch with him each Tuesday for Bible study—”so I can stay in the Word and in fellowship” while I found a church home.

Hilarious.

I confessed to Shawn that I didn’t believe during our first lunch. He smiled and assured me he already knew that I was full of something other than the Holy Spirit.

We met each Tuesday and Shawn patiently answered my questions about Jesus by using the Bible. When there weren’t clear answers, he didn’t offer manufactured drivel. He would just explain humbly that some things aren’t buttoned up all nice and neat and that it’s faith that helps bridge the gap.

I didn’t like that answer, but I loved that Shawn was humble enough to be honest rather than use a million words to say nothing.

After 8 weeks he bribed me. He said if I would go to PK with him and his mens group, he would leave me alone if I wanted. And he promised I wouldn’t lose the Microsoft business if I didn’t want to pursue Jesus.

I was secretly excited, but with my usual reservations—primarily that no matter how close I’d gotten in the past to “believing,” I couldn’t reconcile it with the way the different types of “Jesus People” treated one another. Everyone seemed to think they and their little group were the only ones saved by God’s grace. I didn’t know much about much, but I knew for sure that if it were true—the Jesus thing—then he certainly wasn’t sitting up in Heaven with a referee jersey on, calling technical fouls for how deep the baptismal water is.

Those hesitations were obliterated as I saw 50,000 men from 100 different denominations, hand-in-hand praising the same Jesus from the top of their lungs! [At Promise Keepers,] the Gospel was presented simply and powerfully, and believably. The sights and sounds of it all caused my heart welled up with something new, and strong.

Later in the day I was invited to accept Jesus by responding to a classic “altar call.” I didn’t bite, I was concerned that I was getting caught up in emotionalism, so I let the moment pass.

I knew I’d wanted to claim Jesus as Lord, so letting the moment pass made me quiet and withdrawn.

On the way home I didn’t say a word, I just stared out the window hoping Shawn wouldn’t try to help me unpack what I was feeling.

Shawn pulled up in front of my house and said, “Forget the altar call, John. If you want to ask Jesus into your heart, then go in your house and walk into your bedroom and hit your knees and ask him say, ‘Jesus, I’m a mess and now I realize that it’s mostly because I don’t know you. Please forgive my sins and come into my heart. I believe that you lived, and died, and rose again and that you did it for me, I’m yours Jesus!’”

I virtually ran up my driveway and into my bedroom in order to say that very thing and much more…and Jesus has been calling the shots ever since.

I went to church the next day because they told me to about a dozen times at PK.

I didn’t know of a church by me and didn’t want to go with Shawn cuz he was 50! So I just went to the one I could see from the patio of the coffee shop I sat at most everyday.

The pastor from Irvington Baptist Church taught from James that morning and I remember loving how practical it seemed as he read it. We chatted after and get this: Sensing a prompting, he told me about a pastor named Paul and a church named Crossroads that had recently begun meeting at the movie theater in town.

It was awesome. The people were so human and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t smell religion at all…just popcorn.

They became my people, my family—my church. Paul became my pastor and my mentor. He still is.

Shawn, the man that came into my office all those years ago, wasn’t setting any records for letting the world know about Jesus. I was the 1st person Shawn ever felt like he “lead” to Jesus. Seeing me come alive in Christ over the next couple years was spiritually invigorating for him and ultimately, he and his wife left their home and jobs and moved to Mexico to do full time missionary work training pastors. They left 15 years ago and they are still there and their ministry is advancing the Gospel in wonderful ways!

I could go on in infinitum, but I’ll stop. 🙂

John

PK 2020: Earlybird Pricing Ends Friday

February 19, 2020By PK ManagerMy PK Story

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

More than ever, America needs a revival of godly men. Our nation faces problems that can only be overcome when men of integrity — promisekeeping men — fulfill their destinies as godly husbands, fathers, and leaders. That’s why we’re calling on men everywhere — all of us — to boldly rise up and STAND STRONG as the men God intended us to be.

Join us July 31-August 1, 2020, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in the heart of Dallas-Ft. Worth.

Just like the iconic Promise Keepers conferences of previous years, we’re going to shake the foundations as we worship together. We’re going to drink deeply from the Word of God. And we’re going to return home as changed men. Through Fire Teams — small groups of men in each church linked by a smartphone app — we’re going to stay connected like never before. Together we will bless our families, strengthen our churches, and transform our communities. We won’t rest until we’ve brought radical revival to this country. And we need you to join us.

Register for the PK 2020 Conference – and invite others to join you. We are honoring the Early Bird Discount through this Friday, February 21, 2020.

As always, we have low rates for all military and first responders. We also have reduced rates for families and groups. Hotel discounts are available through our website. 

Why I’m Going to PK2020

“Attended my first PK Conference in Denton, TX summer 1993! Over the years I’ve been to over 25 PK conferences. PK offered me answers for my life as a Man, Father, Husband, Worker, Volunteer that I could not easily access in the local church.” – M.L.

“I went with my dad when I was 14. It was the best weekend I ever had with my father. And I can’t wait to repeat that with my son.” – S.S.

My PK Story

February 13, 2020By PK ManagerMy PK Story

I am so excited about the TX event coming up. I have so longed to see, feel and be a part of the God-centered worship that we experienced in the PK events of the 90’s and early 2000’s.

I felt led to attend PK in 1995 and there found a deeper relationship with my God than I had ever known. I cried, I was broken and I saw the depth of my sin and selfishness. I recommitted my life to the Lord, my wife and my family.

On the brink of divorce, God reconciled my marriage. I came home, washed my wife’s feet and committed to being a servant leader in our home. I decided to live a life of Christian integrity so my children had a father they could look up to. As my children have grown, married and started their own families, I am proud to say that they and their families have a relationship with Jesus that is more than mere words and actions. They too have become servants.

One [Promise Keepers] event in particular stands out in my mind, when my son went forward during lunch as they talked… They asked the kids what they wanted to say about their dads. I could see my son on the jumbotron twice and he was excitedly raising his hand but was never called on. He came back toward his seat, fell into my arms and was crying. When I asked him what was wrong he said that he wanted everyone to know what a godly father he had. Then my tears came. I knew that I had to lead my family in God’s paths of righteousness so as not to make my son a liar. It has been a real struggle at times.

I still listen to the older PK music because it was true worship. Over the years God moved me from leading a men’s ministry, to my wife and I leading a couples ministry, to me going to school to become a Christian counselor and then into the pastorate. For the past 19 years I have been a pastor of a small, rural church. The flock is not large but we serve a large God and even the small flocks need leadership. God has done great things in and through my life. My wife and I just celebrated 43 years of marriage. My kids have been on mission trips around the world. God is good.

I know my walk with the Lord was nurtured and grew because of a PK event on a cold October night in Memphis, TN. Thank you PK for coming back to the roots where we started. Let’s reach this next generation of men for God so that they, too, can know the peace that comes from a right relationship with Him, with family and with friends. The ills that our country faces—anger, violence, hatred—can all be overcome by the grace of God. We must not only teach it, we must live it.

God bless you all.

This testimonial was sent to Promise Keepers by a man whose life was transformed. If you have a PK story you’d like to share, we would love to hear. Send us your PK story today.

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

Purchase your tickets today

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


Learn more about the upcoming Promise Keepers 2020 Conference in Dallas-Ft. Worth.

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