Every so often for almost a decade, I have attended a gathering of men for food, fellowship, testimony, scripture and prayer. The gathering of men hovers between 50 and as many as 100 men. Gathered are members of various denominations and more than 20 different churches and congregations. There is no prescribed format, no real rules, no one leader and lastly it has no name.
When I first started attending the number of men hovered around 100 at each gathering. The men from my church called it the 100 Man Dinner, and they ever wrote a song by the same name. All but one man from my old church have stopped attending, but the men from New Wesleyan continue to attend. Numbers overall have ebbed and flowed since then, but the gathering still has no formal name.
Tonight Brothers Mark, Brian and I made the roughly one hour drive south down the Outer Banks of North Carolina to Manteo. The meeting with no name saw more than 70 men gather in the name of Jesus Christ this night.
It was a special meeting as we gathered for brunswick stew and grilled cheese sandwiches. The stew and sandwiches didn’t make it special, but the return of our brother Ian did. Last June (2019), Ian took a pretty nasty fall while working on the roof of a house. He lingered in critical condition for a long time, then serious, and later undertook a very long road to recovery. Tonight marked his first meeting since the accident last year.
Ian doesn’t remember anything about his first month after the accident, and he still has much recovery to go. He is as strong of a Christian as you will ever meet. His faith is even stronger today. The Lord put it on Ian’s heart to share Isaiah 43 with us tonight. He emphasized the first three verses.
But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
What an awesome set of scripture. We are reminded who our creator is and that we don’t need to fear, we have been redeemed. That means we have been saved from sin. This part of the scripture is exciting because it foretold the coming of Jesus Christ hundreds of years before his birth. Jesus is our Savior, and died on the Cross that our sins might be forgiven.
Next we are summoned by our name, Jeremiah 1:5 says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” God knew us before he formed us and he called our name. How wonderful is that. We often say “my God is an awesome God,” in the possessive. But here we are reminded that we belong to God.
As this passage goes on we are reminded that God is always with us. Through all of our trials and tribulations, God is there. He never leaves us and he never forsakes us. Even when we are tested the most, God is there. Probably the single most important verse in this passage is the reminder that He is Lord our God.
We never know when the the next meeting, gathering, supper or dinner will be, but we know the Lord our God knows its name.