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This past weekend, I attended the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International (FGBMFI) Georgia Men's Advance. It was held at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, GA. And I had a great time over there. As a matter of fact, it was the best men's event that I've ever been to.

The Norcross Fellowship Luncheon group reserved a cabin and I went with them. It's been years since I've been at the NFL luncheons, so it was good to be able to fellowship with them. The founders of the NFL luncheon, Larry Shrader and Heinz Wegener, are such faithful, down-to-earth men that God has truly blessed and it's always a priviledge to be with them.

The main speaker at the advance was Mark Rutland. He's been the main speaker of the advance ever since it got started 24 years ago. He is one of my favorite speakers. I appreciate how he doesn't hold back and doesn't fear offending people with the truth. He's got a great balance of speaking deep truths with a unique humor. One thing weird was that I've never known what he looked like before. So I had this preconceived idea on what he should look like. So when I saw him on stage, speaking like what he sounds like on the radio, I was thinking, "This is not Mark Rutland. He doesn't look like him."

The main singer was Larnelle Harris. I was surprised that they were able to get a performer as famous as him. The music was so loud at one point that it blew a fuse. But he graciously handled the situation and led us all in singing "Amen, amen" while they were fixing it.

Friday night, after the sessions were over, the NFL group got together in the cabin and just shared and ministered to each other late into the night.

Saturday, I woke up at 6 AM. After I got ready, I just walked around the grounds a little bit while playing my harmonica. As I was sitting in the auditorium by myself, two people came in asking if this is where the prayer meeting was. I said no. Then they figured out it was in the chapel. I decided to go there too. It was 6:45 and when I got to the chapel, it was standing room only. I've never seen so many men together pray before. The presence of God was so strong in that chapel and I couldn't keep my eyes dry the whole time I was there.

There were 3 workship sessions on Saturday afternoon. The first workshop I attended was "Dressed to kill" by Paul Fitzgerald. He gave a great presentation on the armor of God. He even dressed the part!

The second workshop I attended was "How to Run a Godly Business" by Tim Hohmann, founder of Automation Direct. He gave great principles of increasing productivity on a Biblical basis.

The third workship was "Aftercare" by Tom Allanson. Aftercare is a program to bring released inmates back into society. He said 80% of released inmates return back to prison. And there is very little done to help them get back into society. After they are released, they are given $25 and pushed out the door and left to figure out what to do from there. No wonder they return back to prison. If there's no assistance, I don't see how anybody can make it.

There were some testimonies given by ex-inmates at the workshop. And I had the special opportunity to talk with some of them during dinner after the workshop. I've never really been around ex-inmates before (at least not that I know of) and got to learn a lot about the prison system. It's not that these people are bad people, but they just made some bad decisions and are suffering badly for it.

Next year will be the 25 year anniversary of the Men's Advance. I'm definitely going to try to make it again. And if possible, bring other men from the church along.

Posted: 2004-01-26 09:48:28

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