It was raining sideways! The wind blew the Big Top Tent Up and hundreds of fathers, sons, fatherless sons and mentors were hours away from coming to have the time of their life at the Next Step Outback, which Greg and Pat, along with many leaders from the city were putting on. Yikes! Greg and Pat remember the season of following the voice of the Lord in regards of almost ten years of bringing father and sons together, mentors and fatherless boys, in the Next Step Outback’s Father and Son Camping Trips. There was so much that had to come together setting up all the logistics and volunteers to bring such a huge weekend event. As they are doing all they can, laboring, setting up tents, and communicating, everything is coming together, except the weather. When trying to get the tents up, there is downpouring rain, winds blowing everything around, yet the event went on. Greg often said at that time, “The difference between boys and men, are DUE DATES!” People can talk about doing things all they want, but when they are truly brave, or better said, stepping out in BOLD FAITH to tell the world that you are going to do something like this on these dates, it’s a big deal. Greg recalls a humorous moment as he looked back on that even. The people who were around him helping set the event up on that stormy week were working hard to do all we could to assure there was an event. While Greg, with Frank Holland’s lead and Frank’s long rope, after driving stakes in the ground around the big top tent, were tying a very long rope around the big top tent’s sides to attempt to stop the big top from blowing away. Frank, as he and Greg were soaking wet, pulling the rope as tight as they could as the wind seemingly was going to blow it away, looked at Greg, while standing next to him and said, “Pastor Greg, I love your faith!” That is what Greg stepped out on every year as he prophesied the Malachi Mandate, see Malachi 4:5-4. Over and over, Greg would tell all those involved, this is not a camping trip, it’s a prophesy, just tell everyone you can. That is truly what it was, as today we’re seeing the world shake because currently there is still no response to the Father’s Heart of turning our hearts to Him as He turns His to ours.
Greg and Pat, recall a time, at a Next Step Outback, how Frank Holland was responsible for setting up the campfire where many wonderful memories would be formed as the men and boys gathered around it at night. Frank had a gift for building the biggest, widest, perfect campfires that was an epicenter of many bonding moments. This is the funny part, that was shared. It was scheduled that the men and boys were to be headed to their tents, in the City of Tents, to hit the sack to sleep for the night. And, Frank, had a certain time he was ready to go to sleep. His pickup truck was backed up to the fire as he slept on the open tail gate up till the time for him to go to sleep. It didn’t matter what was happening around that fire when Frank was ready for sleep, he could put that huge fire out in a few minutes with many buckets of water. Greg still remembers the shocked men and boys who sat there in the smoldering wet woods’ smoke as Frank jumped into the back of his pickup truck with the open tail gate and went to sleep. HILARIOUS! Except for all the ones who were enjoying the campfire into the night.
Back to this current event where it was raining sideways. Greg and Pat finally decided to take a break from everything that was going on, to get some lunch. Of all the restaurants they decided to eat at was an Applebee’s, it didn’t have walls, but WINDOWS! EVERYWHERE with three very large views on three sides as no matter where they looked, they saw RAIN, LOTS OF RAIN! SIDEWAYS RAIN! To add insult to injury, they had televisions all over Applebee’s where instead of showing sports as they always have in the past, now they had the weather channel on that was broadcasting a SECOND-BY-SECOND PLAY of this horrific weather. IT WAS RAINING SIDEWAYS! Leaving from their lunch, Greg and Pat head back to the campground in separate cars. Pat leading, and Greg following immediately behind him. The damage caused to the big top, seemed so bad to Pat when he pulled into the event, he just felt like he had to call Greg and let him know, “IT’S TERRIBLE!”, even though Greg was SECONDS BEHIND HIM, Pat wanted him to tell him himself, I guess like how those who told Job about his misfortunes. “Oh my gosh, the big tent is blowing away!!!” Pat shouted over the phone call to Greg. Of course, Greg was five seconds from seeing what Pat was seeing, yet Pat called to give him the bad news. That made it where Greg had to get this bad news, TWICE, once from Pat and second from his own eyes when he drove into the event FIVE SECONDS LATER!!! behind Pat. LOL
When you are doing something for God, the enemy does all that he can to convince you that it’s terrible and that it won’t work. Sad to say, many quit and not push through, because pushing through requires faith. Faith is being sure of what you hope for and CERTAIN of what you DON’T SEE! Hebrews 11:1.
As God was faithful to do, every year of the Next Step Outback’s, the moment the events started, God’s power moved mightily! Many hearts were touched as God moved upon those that were there. Holy Spirit moved in such a mighty powerful way, as His glory filled the place, John Lovrien, with WHBR television station, who was there to record the event with his television cameras, dropped his camera, and rushed to his young son who he had left sleeping in their tent. The conviction of the Lord was so powerfully present touching everyone’s heart, burning them with His importance of relationship, He established between fathers and their sons and the sons and their fathers; it’s a God thing. God was moving everywhere. God is into honoring our fathers and recognizing our sons. This is what God does!