In this day and age, relationship-building is not easy for the average Christian male. Men don’t always
naturally bond. Often, there has to be some sort of association or a shared common interest, for
example, a fraternity-like group or an interest-based group through sports or a hobby. Our society
defines “masculinity” in a certain way. Society thinks being macho, playing sports, building muscle,
picking up girls, driving a nice car, or having a deep voice is being masculine. So when a particular male
does not fit into that standard norm of masculinity, there is a sense of exclusion. This standard often
carries over to the church, where friendship is often built on a shallow level through a common interest
or a characteristic based relationship.

But whatever happened to embodying the characteristics that Jesus himself portrayed? For example,
gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:23), humility (Ephesians 4:2), slow to speak (James 1:19), all
while being bold in faith and action (2 Corinthians 10:1) and standing out among others (Romans 12:2)
to be brave in proclaiming His message (1 Peter 2:9)? At times we also need to be free, excited, and
have that childlike heart for our Father. Accordingly, I believe it is our duty as followers of Jesus Christ
(who once came down to earth in a male human form) to redefine masculinity and to defy the social
standard of masculinity.

It is this anticipation that I attend Men’s Encounter Retreat. It’s time we no longer let ourselves be
bound by the shackles of societal norm, but break free and embody the perfect male role model – Jesus
himself. I guess in in order to embody Jesus, we must first encounter Him. In order to fully grab this word
“encounter”, I had to know what it meant. Without first looking this word up, to me encounter meant
differently than to just meet. Encounter is meeting, but also experiencing and being immersed. Webster
dictionary defines encounter as “to come upon face-to- face.” So whether it's the presence of the Lord or
the invaluable relationship building with the fellow brothers, I’m looking to encounter God – this sense
of incredible externalizing and internalizing sharing of life and energy by coming to him face-to- face –
with my fellow brothers through the blanket that His spirit encompasses us.

One thing I have been looking forward to in my overall experience attending Tapestry was to form a
Godly relationship and brotherhood with other guys at the church. More than just same interests or
character, I believe a brotherhood is created when we fully understand that we are the bloodlines of
Christ himself, and it is His shed blood that connects us. This brotherhood is so vital for me – and
probably for the every individual striving to be a Godly man – and my desire to be a true follower of
Christ, someone accountable, and a mentor.

By encountering God, I hope to build a platform or a beginning with my fellow brothers who are not
afraid to be different, not afraid to become more like Jesus, and redefine what makes us, well a fellow
brother, son, and a child of God.