Men all over the world are leading Wild at Heart Boot Camps, and countless men are being set free. Wildmen Kansas recently hosted a weekend Boot Camp and shared with Ransomed Heart how God came that weekend, through a company of men, and how he is still moving in the men who attended. Read here:
Dallas Willard once described the Kingdom of God as “The Effective Range of the Will of God.” In other words, where what God wants to be done is being done. There is no doubt that what happened this weekend at Timber Lakes Camp was the expansion of God’s Kingdom! After this weekend’s retreat, the hearts and trajectories of the lives of many man were changed because of the Gospel going forth to them with clarity and power!
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…” (Phil 1:3-5) Words can hardly express how encouraging and challenging it was for all of us to know that you have been praying for us fervently during the entire event. THANK YOU for your faithfulness!
There were many shed tears - from many eyes that have not been allowed to weep for decades - as the men heard about this Jesus whom we love. Seasoned, silver-haired men would come up to us and say, “Thank you for what you are doing here,” with tears streaming down their faces. Many of the men attending the event had never been to any kind of men’s retreat AT ALL, and this was their first taste of the power of a company of men gathered together to seek the face of God together. It was stunning - and very disruptive for many of them.
The weekend started with the potential of great theft - a grass fire got out of control and threatened to consume a few cabins on the edge of the camp property. Before our first session on Friday afternoon, about a dozen men grabbed rakes and dove into the fray to save the cabins! Fighting against the licking flames, heavy smoke and wind, we raked aggressively around the edges of the fire to contain it in about 30 minutes. Again, some of the men involved with that team effort had never been a part of a company of men. TRIAL BY FIRE indeed!
There is still much work to be done. Kansas is filled with men who need the healing, discipleship, counseling and deliverance that only Jesus can give. But we believe that the fire of the Gospel generated this weekend will create chain reactions that will go forth through the lives of this small Company of men that will continue to bring more men and their families closer to Jesus!
A FEW RESPONSES FROM THE MEN WHO ATTENDED:
Would you please keep myself and my family in your prayers. My father was killed in the Harveyville Tornado [3 days after the retreat]. I along with my cousin (who also attended) believe that God sent us to your camp for a reason and this is as good a reason as any. Thanks.
Two guys we went with had a tremendous break through. One guy dealing with passiveness...he was tore up during that session and claimed he had allergies because of the strange leaks coming from his eyes. He is a new believer and is figuring out what a Christian man is supposed to look like. He loved the weekend after being reluctant about going...He told me the day after he was ready for the next one. Another guy...dealing with "not good enough", at our campfire he broke down because he feels like he is the loser in his family because he has not been going to church or has his family in church. He admitted he does not have anyone to talk to...he is floating with no real authentic male relationships. Dude was absolutely broken. Because the 2nd guy shared the first guy shared...it was awesome and real. The campfire was where it happened...we had to just get our guys alone so they could open up and they did.
I have always loved God and have known him as my savior but this was the first time that I have actually Walked with God and talked to God and listened to Him. From the time that I spent with you guys this weekend I have found that there is more than just knowing and believing. This weekend I actually spoke to the Father and opened my heart to him wounds and all and I feel that he has started to heal my broken heart. I know that this isn't going to happen overnight but I am hoping that I have met some guys from the trip that I will be able to call my band of brothers.
I had an incredible time of conviction that will help me move forward, seek my families forgiveness and bring healing. All of my father wounds I have passed onto my family…but I now have realized it, and am in a position to bring God's healing to them...it's all God! And, the session with the beauty...I finally got a profound truth...my wife wants me to include her on our team...and not just be responsible for her...huge...huge...and... I tap out...God, I tap out... and... I've been on Omaha Beach sitting in a lawn chair sleeping. Now I'm in the battle...and...I came home and my wife had been under attack the entire weekend, she was getting a huge headache. I had been challenged by you men to pray against anything that might be spiritually oppressing her...I was so scared to ask her if I could pray for her...so scared...but I did...God was there...and I was encouraged again to be the man God created me to be. Reminding that I'm His son and He wants to father me...even in my "old" age He delights in me...really...amazing...amazing. God bless you men...powerful...powerful...all God...all God!!!!! Powerful weekend!
The retreat was a big hit to me. I needed both the encouragement to do the right things and insight on Sonship. I could even benefit going through the same material again soon, and then again. I'm a slow learner and usually learn the hard way - through mistakes that hurt. The retreat material gave me good information I needed to relate to my family and to be the spiritual leader. That will take time and I need reminders.
Does Jesus really hear us? Read Greg's story:
A couple of weeks ago I was praying that I wanted to go back in time and walk with Jesus for just a week or even a day so I could get to know his personality. If only I could walk with him and see his expressions and get the real meanings of some of the things he did and said that I don't understand. A few days later I was at the Christian book store and saw this book Beautiful Outlaw. I read the inside cover and knew God was answering my prayer. It has been a "game changer" for me spiritually and I just wanted John to know that.
In Rescue Missions across the country, Jesus is touching the hearts of homeless men and women in profound ways. Listen to this story from Jim Palmer, Founder of the Orange County Rescue Mission:
Just prior to Thanksgiving, Ray Johnson and I invited 150 homeless men and women to attend a streaming broadcast on John’s new book, Beautiful Outlaw. As you can imagine so many things were set against me pulling this off. First, it was the projector failing; so then we purchased and installed a new one, then it was logistics for childcare, and then some questioned why we were doing this at all… As the 150 gathered in the Village of Hope Chapel at the Rescue Mission I could tell that they were all restless. As you can imagine, this is a group that has a real hard time sitting still and listening for any length of time.
I jumped up and introduced your video, and shared how Wild at Heart had changed my life and how I believed that Beautiful Outlaw would allow their lives to be changed, too. As the video played, I was amazed at how everyone was engaged. The laughter was defining at times. There was a real roar of the crowd and applause was regular.
Sixty minutes into the presentation, I asked my case managers that were present if they felt this group could finish the next 30 minutes. The response was an overwhelming yes. A number of the case managers told me that they had “never” seen this group so engaged and excited about a message.
As the message ended I stood and shared what I saw in their faces. I saw a group of rejects and society’s outlaws just learn that their Lord and Savior was an outlaw. They all applauded wildly. Then Ray Johnson stood and proclaimed that this message was a “Game Changer” for us all and closed us in a powerful prayer. As they each walked out I handed them a copy of Beautiful Outlaw and they were so thankful. Many had tears and many just could not stop talking about their excitement about the message. This book is just beginning of an incredible journey within the hearts of these homeless men and women.
Beautiful Outlaw is a dangerous book! It has caused me to fall in love with Jesus all over again. I realized in reading it that Jesus is a whole lot different than what I have been told, taught, and believed. He is so refreshingly inviting, masculine, and full of life that my picture of Jesus is forever altered. I want to draw as close to this man and follow Him with everything I am. Only read this book if you are willing to have your entire world shaken to it’s core—in the best possible way you can imagine.
One particular aspect of Jesus as he really is involves his playfulness. That is, he likes to have fun and surprise me with serendipitous types of things/events. This is a new category for me.
Here is one example:
Last weekend, my wife, Sandy and I decided on the spur of the moment at lunch on Friday to drive to Charleston, South Carolina for the weekend. We had no reservations, no place to stay but wanted to go.
We invited Jesus into the weekend and sensed him saying go for it. So we left Atlanta, just beating the traffic jam and drove the 5 hours to Charleston. We arrived just in time to hit the beach for 1 hour at 6:45 pm. I was able to get in a fun session of kitesurfing while Sandy enjoyed the beach. We began at 8:30 pm to look for a place to stay. We invited Jesus into the search.
I called a couple of places and they had no openings-totally booked. We drove past a Hampton Inn and I made a couple of wrong turns but eventually arrived. I walked in and asked the desk clerk if they had any rooms. She replied, “Wow, I just got a cancellation by phone 90 seconds ago. The room is yours. You must have an angel on your shoulder because I have had over 100 calls for rooms today. There are no rooms anywhere as there is in town this weekend American Idol, a huge baseball tournament, and a giant dance contest.” As I said yes, we’ll take the room, another man walked up and asked if they had any rooms. The desk clerk replied, “No, he just took the only one I had.”
I laughed as I told my wife what happened and smiled thinking how the wrong turn in driving to the Hampton Inn actually made it possible for us to get the room. Had I not made the “wrong” turn, I would have arrived at the front desk 2-3 minutes before the cancellation call came in and missed the room.
I sensed Jesus smiling and sort of saying, “See it’s fun following me isn’t it.”
We had a blast the entire weekend. In addition, we were able on Friday night to only get one night’s stay as the entire place was booked on Saturday. No room in the inn type of thing. However, just as we were preparing to check out on Saturday another cancellation came in allowing us to stay in the same room on Saturday as well. Again the playfulness of Jesus. We smiled and laughed and enjoyed another day of serendipitous unexpecteds from Jesus.
Through the teaching of Jesus in John's new book Beautiful Outlaw, Brent believes that the question of "Who is Jesus?" can best be answered by looking at the stories in the gospels, and has discovered an amazing man! Brent has been able to encounter Jesus more and more as he learns of the real Jesus described in Beautiful Outlaw. This is the gospel as we need to hear it.
I've been to many conferences and seminars that have great content, but regurgitate the same information and stories from one place to another, year after year.
Boot Camp and your lives shared with us felt like a moving, living organism that wasn't static. That your experiences weren't just from ten or more years ago but were as current as the moment. Thank you so much for revealing keys that will lead to full restoration on that day, standing before Jesus when my full and complete heart will be given back to me.
I recently attended the Captivating Retreat in Colorado, and I finally am sitting down to tell a little bit of my experience, why I went, and how it impacted me. I'm Tami. I have been married to Ron for almost 28 years, and by the grace and mercy of God we've raised two fantastic young adults, and I just turned 49. Seems almost “wrong” that I should feel in ways like a child, but...here's a little of what happened on my way to 50:
Four years ago I packed up a little bag to give to my father. I was very excited as I anticipated having dinner with him, just he and I, for Father’s Day. The rest of our family members (we all live within 30 minutes) would be out of town at my niece’s graduation, but I needed to stay behind. And I was so glad to have this rare opportunity to spend with my dad. For the previous 10 years, he had not allowed my siblings and I to honor him on Father's Day. Our parents’ 40-year marriage ended suddenly on a Saturday morning in September of 1995. This marriage had produced three children, all happily married, seven grandchildren, and so much love. But my father had been living two very different lives—one that he shared with family, which appeared stable, disciplined, healthy, successful, and full of integrity, and one that he shared with strangers, full of emptiness, cocaine, and the darkness of pornography.
In the bag that I packed for my father, which would be his Father’s Day present, I carefully placed a book I'd just learned about—The Ransomed Heart: a collection of devotional readings, a “little black book” which was actually a smart-looking New Testament, a calendar to help my father remember his children and grandchildren’s birthdays, and three DVDs: Sea Biscuit, We Were Soldiers, and Cinderella Man. I chose these movies for the same reason you chose the clips we saw at the retreat: They tell about good and evil, heroism, life, honor, and truth. My father loved a good movie, and I knew these would speak to his heart.
But I’m speaking in the past tense because I didn’t have the opportunity to give this present to my father. He called me on Saturday to tell me where to meet him, and he sounded fine—in fact, really good. But he ended his life in the early morning hours Sunday, Father’s Day 2006.
The agony I felt in the last four years was for him—his heart, his pain, his brokenness. Me too, a little, remembering and missing him, nostalgia for the good times we all missed so much. But when I read Captivating last summer, and then Waking the Dead, I realized that there was a comfort from God that was offered, available, and that I needed. I started to think about what it would be like to give myself permission to seek the comfort and healing that my heavenly Father had for me.
I’ve never won anything in my life, but I won the lottery to attend your retreat! So I thought maybe God wanted me to be there. My husband’s development business is down about 90%, but he insisted. So I signed up and paid to go. At the Denver airport, when I gave my name to board the shuttle, a woman said, “You ARE Ali’s mother!” This smiling face “happened” to be our daughter’s school librarian, one of the few Christians on campus, AND she and I were placed in the same cabin! So I thought again maybe I am where God planned for me to be. Then I became acquainted with another young woman, 3 years a Christian, concerned for her father’s drinking. The three of us and another roommate became retreat buddies, and we plan to stay in touch, and I will pray for the young women's father indefinitely—another reason I think God had me there.
I didn’t want to go to the retreat and cry. I’ve spent a lot of energy over my parents’ issues and WAY too many tears since my father’s death. But I heard you, Stasi, at one point say these words that pierced my heart: “…and if you think, ‘If I start crying, I will never stop,’ THAT’S A LIE.” And then it was all over for me. There I sat, crying and crying on my sweet new friend's shoulder, convinced that my Father God cared to hear me, comfort me, hear me again, and again until I was done, and heal me. Then the communion…I made a point of feeling His presence there with me, close, like dinner on Father’s Day, enjoying my presence as I enjoyed His. I took the time to see the beautiful bread, to touch the piece in my hand, to enjoy the luster in the cup while I dipped the bread, and to savor it on my tongue, knowing that I am not only loved by my Father, but cherished. And all I can say is that now I feel stronger, healed, more mature, prepared to be more than a child, to be whatever God has planned for me.
I thank you, John, and your team, for the ministry that you are providing. It is so important. I pray for God’s continued blessing on your families, for the hearts of your children, and for His favor on this ministry. We need to encourage one another to offer strength to our husbands as we gain strength from God's Word, to forgive as we’ve been forgiven, and to remember who we are. How I wish my parents had had the benefit of your ministry…but God’s ways are not mine, “all things work together for good,” and I will not second-guess Him. I will, however, do my best to share the important books available at www.ransomedheart.com, to begin my own Captivating small group, and to pray to live and love others well…like the beautiful and “captivating” Arwen.
With so much love and gratitude,
Recently, many women at the Community of Believers Christian Church in Cuyahoga Falls participated in a women's study on the book Captivating. I'd like to share how it came to be ... and the amazing impact it has had on so many.
About two years ago, I was going through some very difficult times emotionally, physically, financially, relationally, mentally and spiritually! Through the grace of God (I had been a Christian more than 30 years) and the wise counsel of a woman in our church, God began to help me deal with some very deep issues in my life that needed His healing touch. At about the same time, a good friend of mine shared a book called Captivating with me. When I read the verse in Isaiah 62 about the Lord giving us a "new name," I just could not get my arms around that concept and I put the book away.
Over the course of many months and God's deep healing touch, I began to understand why His love and goodness were allowing the difficult things in my life to take place. He wanted to heal me in my deepest parts and was allowing the circumstances of my life to draw me to the only place where I could find true and lasting peace, comfort and love. Eventually, I thought I was ready to receive the "new name" God had for me, and so I came to Him humbly with my request. I immediately received an impression in my spirit of a pearl. I was so excited when I read these words ... pearls are very rare, very valuable, very admirable. And, of course, the beauty of the pearl comes about through great friction! I even found it significant that pearls are buried in hard shells deep beneath the sand, that need to be uncovered, even as God was beginning to dig deeply to reveal to myself the beauty He saw in me.
It was many months later that under completely different circumstances, our Pastor's wife, with no knowledge of my experience, shared that she felt the women should study the book Captivating. We immediately knew it was a word from God. The study lasted three months and about 20 women faithfully attended. In addition, a blog was established based on the study. Through the study, the Lord has given dozens of women in our church and our family and friends their new names. The most amazing experience has been to see women begin to embrace the truth of how God sees them - with tender love, affection and desire. Some of the Captivating videos can be seen by going to Facebook or YouTube for the Community of Believers Church. My deepest thanks for your open heart and spirit in receiving this incredible message of Captivating from the Lord, sharing it with others, and allowing others the wonderful gift of receiving their New Names from Him!
I am so beyond words of thanks for what Jesus did in my life this weekend. I have known the Lord my whole life. I knew He would move and speak to me, but I never expected Him to come for my heart like He did, to romance me and capture my heart. I received healing that I desperately ached for and needed. This weekend my God was not just my daddy and friend, but my lover. Thank you Ransomed Heart Ministries for listening to God and providing a wonderful place to meet with God. It was the most beautiful and intimate weekend with the Lord of my entire life. And I love him for it!