Is was one of the greatest landmarks of my life. It was 1984, and I had the privilege of serving as the National Young Adult Coordinator for the Christian Men's Network men's event at the University of Houston. With over 8,000 men attending, it was the largest Christian event for men at the time, a precursor to the Promise Keepers movement. As a young man myself, I found myself weeping as I saw other young men running to the altar. Some were even throwing down their drugs as they came with hearts of repentance. I was so taken back by what I saw, I couldn't move.
The event was hosted by the late Dr. Edwin Louis Cole, who was not only a spiritual father to me but also a hero and a warrior. I remember the times when he would pray, "God, just give me a little more time to reach more men and to impact more families."
Thanks to the sacrifices made and the foundations laid by Dr. Cole, his legacy of investing in men and impacting families has been continued by his son and my friend, Paul Cole, president of CMN.
"What a man does in life becomes history, but what he puts into motion becomes his legacy," Paul explains. "Every single one of us has a legacy."
Unfortunately, Paul says, we live in a culture where our heroes and warriors are being removed. "Every great culture is built on the character of its heroes and the courage of its warriors. Those two things have been emasculated because people want to push away God. And so now, fatherlessness rises up."
He adds: "My heart for every single man is that his life would have significance, that what he does in life would have impact, that he would find his purpose in Christ—because when we find our identity in Christ, we find our purpose. I want every man to live a totally fulfilled life, a passionate life following Christ, finding his purpose and being fully successful."
Dr. Cole taught us that love desires to give at the expense of self, whereas lust desires to get at the expense of others. The result is toxic masculinity, where we have a self-absorbed, self-centered view of our world that everyone else needs to fit into. A crisis of biblical manhood has affected all of our society and culture, including the unraveling of families at a time we need family units more than ever before.
But there is good news!
"When a man becomes a follower of Christ, he accepts responsibility to be the hero and the warrior for his children," Paul says. "And every child deserves a loving dad."
"What every man needs is the presence of God, because without it, we don't have identity," Paul continues. "Identity is the story you tell yourself about yourself, but most men are telling themselves stories that somebody else wrote the lyrics to. So, they're telling themselves a story that's smaller than what God designed them to be."
To hear Doug Stringer's interview with Paul Cole in its entirety, listen to A Word in Season with Doug Stringer and Friends on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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