Beyond the Cave
Before they hole themselves away in sessions geared specifically towards them, the male members of Bahamas Harvest Church (BHC) were reminded that as they take in the man cave experience next weekend that there is life beyond the “cave” and that they should use it as a learning tool. BHC senior pastor Mario Moxey reminded the men that they have to leverage the cave experience, and not waste it.
He said the “cave” is a place where they should examine themselves, not blame anyone else, and to admit where they’re at.
“We have to ask ourselves where we’re at relationally with God. Am I just going through the motions? Do I have a form of godliness? Do I really mean this walk with God; yeah – I’m in church every week, but am I really trying to build a relationship with God? What am I doing in between Sundays? Am I connecting with God? Am I praying? How’s my prayer life? Where am I with God? Where am I financially? Am I doing things I shouldn’t be doing? Do I have a financial plan? Am I spending more than I’m making? Where am I relationally with other people in my life – important people in my life? You don’t waste the cave experience,” he said.
Moxey said beyond the cave, a man without a vision is a man without a future; and that a man without a future will always return to his past. And that they want to ensure they have direction and a vision beyond the cave, because he says God did not intend for them to stay in the cave. That they must have trajectory towards their future.
Referencing King David during most of his recent Sunday service, Moxey urged them to not be like David, a man who started off brilliantly and whom he said was a “beaming light” – a man that built Israel – only to have everything he built start to crumble in his last days.
“Don’t be that kind of man. Learn from your cave experiences. Don’t make those perpetual misjudgments over and over again, otherwise Tyrone is gonna have your house.”
He said misjudgments could lead to catastrophe.
“Who is going to get your job because of your misjudgment? You can spend the first half of your life building your kingdom…building that dream house, and because of your misjudgment you’re kicked out of the house and now Tyrone moves in. You work hard the first half of your life and went all the way to Miami to get that bed, now you don’t even sleep in that bed no more – Tyrone in that bed. Who is going to take your job because of your misjudgment?”
The men of BHC as well as non-members, including those who aren’t “saved” but will find the talks beneficial, will take to the “man cave” on Saturday, June 22 at 9 a.m. with Moxey serving as host and speaking to the topic “Communication: No One Understands”.
While recognizing the cave as a place to learn from, the pastor said in most instances, men run to a man cave to escape pressures. He said some men have a room in their house that they can go into, lock the door, tune everyone out and put his thoughts together. He acknowledged that some men do not have such an escape, and that for others that means escaping to the bar room where they can just be, with no one there to judge them or talk down to them. And yet still he said some men don’t have either option and just stay at home in the same room with the people who are pulling them down. They don’t run because they have nowhere to run, he said.
Referencing the Cave of Adullam, which was originally a stronghold referred to in the Old Testament where future King David sought refuge from King Saul, Moxey told BHC members that the Cave of Adullam is not just a physical place, but a mental place. And that men can be squeezed and still be in a place physically, but they’re mentally checked out. He described this as a unique ability that men have, and which he said he finds the female is incapable of.
“We can actually be physically present and absent all at the same time. We can be there but we’re not there. We are so good at this that we can physically get up every day and go to work and still be absent. We can perform all of our duties as a man and still not be present because we are escaping the pressure.”
He said men can see all of the things they’ve done for the family – the sacrifices made, the overtime, the house they built, the car they bought – but he said they’re in the “cave”.
“You can see your victories, but yet you still feel defeated in the space that you’re in. David, like so many men today, was disillusioned, dismayed, discouraged, despondent and depressed. He was in distress, discontented in debt, in doubt, in dismay. That’s what the cave represents.”
When in the “cave”, Moxey encouraged them to use the time to examine themselves, while at the same time not placing blame on others, admitting where they’re at, and remembering to pick up something.
In examining themselves, he said, they should look introspectively at who they are as no one is looking over their shoulder and that it’s between them and God.
While examining themselves, he said, there are five things men need to ask themselves: whether they are honest, supportive, self-motivated and emotionally mature, and whether they have a life plan.
With women at the service, Moxey did not hold back.
“Here’s the reality, sometimes men ‘stench back’ on being completely, brutally honest because they’re not certain whether or not you women can handle the truth,” said the pastor. “Men, I’ve learnt can handle the truth. They can handle the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
“It’s going to be devastating, but not nearly as…depending.”
He then challenged the men that while in the cave they look inwards to determine if they were honest and supportive.
“If I ask any man if they’re supportive, hands down they’re going to say yes. Men are supportive. We are built and designed by God to be supportive. The challenge is this – who are you supporting? We tend to be supportive to those who are further removed from what we would call the most important people in our lives. We tend to be a lot more supportive to strangers than those who are close to us and I don’t know why that is.”
Self-motivation, he said, was another big factor and that they had to determine whether their get up and go, got up and left.
He also told the men that despite their build and sometimes even age, that did not necessarily mean a man was emotionally mature.
“Many of us are easily offended. We are not as emotionally mature as many women are, and so sometimes we send mixed signals. We would say something, but we mean something entirely different. We would send a text message but you have to read between the lines.”
Having a life plan, not a job, the pastor said, was imperative. He told the men that if they don’t have a plan that they don’t have a future, and were bound to repeat the past. He said many times men do have a plan but don’t always articulate it, because they feel they’re “the man”. In other instances, even though a plan is in place, there are inadequacies.
“We know our plan is not foolproof – and rather than us put out a plan we know is not going to work, we don’t say anything at all.”
One of the things Moxey said he discovered was that when he shared his plans with his wife, Erika, that she helped to make it better, and together they realized things that they couldn’t do before.
Moxey also said men tend to blame everybody else for the situation they find themselves in – their boss, their spouse, a family member – and he urged them not to, and instead to look at things introspectively and ask themselves whether they could have done anything differently.
He also encouraged them to not compare themselves with anyone.
As they prepare to be “squirreled away”, he said they have to determine where they’re at relationally with God, or whether they’re just going through the motions. Whether they really mean their walk with God and to look at what they’re doing between Sundays. Men, he advised, should question whether they’re connecting with God, and to look at their prayer life.
He told them they should be looking at their finances and determining whether they’re doing things they shouldn’t be doing – whether they have a financial plan, or are spending more than they’re making. Looking at where they’re at relationally with other people in their life was also important.
The pastor encouraged them not to waste the cave experience, and to pick up something.
“While you’re in the cave, and I got this from a John Maxwell book ‘Falling Forward’ – he says while you’re on the ground – pick something up. When you’re in the cave, when you’re flat out on your face – pick something up, because I can assure you that in between the time of you starting your journey to you being in the cave there are some things that you dropped – some things unintentionally, some things intentionally.”
Values, things that guarded your life, relationships that were important, he said, may have been dropped, and that while they’re on the ground that may be a great time to pick those things back up again. He said there may even be people that they may need to go to and ask for forgiveness and apologize.
In the same token he informed the men that they should not get comfortable in the cave; and that broken people attract broken people.
“The danger is getting comfortable in the cave; getting comfortable in the state of misery because in your mind you’re thinking it’s always going to be like this. I’m in this cave for life so you try to adjust the cave – you put carpet down, you put up curtains, you paint the walls, you put a ductless unit inside the cave – you try to get comfortable. But no matter what you do, it’s still a cave. So, stop focusing on the past and start living for the present so that you can create the future that you want. In order for you to leave where you’re at now, you kind of have to know where you’re going; start building the roads there.”
Moxey told them that God has a way of doing incredible things to jolt his people into reality. And that when they’re trapped in a cave, that God always sends somebody their way to encourage them, because staying in the cave could entomb a person.
“You can end up being trapped in the cave. God didn’t call you to be masters of a cave – but rather to be masters of your life. So, you have to learn whatever state that you’re in – this temporary state of misery, this place of squeezing, it is only temporary.”
On the flip side, he said, sometimes you can’t depend on others for encouragement, and have to learn to encourage yourself in the Lord.
He reminded them that misjudgments can lead a person back into the cave.
Roping the women into the conversation, Moxey told them that many think their men are perfect. He said the fact that when there is a misjudgment in the man’s life and the moment they don’t get something right, all hell breaks loose because women believe that every single thing a man does has to always be on point.
“The moment he gets something wrong he can never hear the end of that. Your expectation is from the time he was in grade one all the way to grade 12, he got 100 percent on every test, that’s your expectation. And it’s an unrealistic expectation, because the moment he gets in the real world and he gets 50 percent wrong – oh dear Lord, you would believe that the heavens burst open and flames came out, because you can’t believe he made that decision and it’s the stupidest thing anyone could ever do – and you haven’t acknowledged the 50 percent he got right. Ladies, ease up,” said Moxey. “He’s not perfect, so don’t have this unrealistic expectation that everything he’s ever done is going to be perfect, because he’s not. Give him some margin so that he can make mistakes and become a better man.”
At the same time, he said misjudgments can cause a man to be led right back into the cave because they’re not learning the lesson. And that was why when they’re in the cave they have to pay attention, because they don’t want to continually make the same misjudgments that got them there in the first place.
Moxey referenced Paul who said men should not copy the behavior and the customs of other men, but let God transform them into a new man by changing the way they think.
“You can’t afford to copy the customs and the behavior of men you see out in the world. You have to allow God to transform you into thinking differently – thinking like a new man.
“Because the way you came onto this planet, the way you came wired is only going to lead you to a place where you don’t want to be – you’re going to end up in the cave. You have to allow God to re-wire you. We have to allow ourselves to be re-wired based on his Word. So, allow yourselves to be transformed because you can’t follow the pattern of the men out in the world, that’s not your path. You have a completely different path.”
The BHC pastor reminded the men and women that man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.
“We judge people based on what we can see on the outside, but God looks on the inside. And for too long, people have been looking at you as men and judging you by what they see on the outside, but they don’t know you – they don’t know your heart,” he said.
The men of BHC will head into their man cave mere weeks after the women of the church came together for the Women’s Conference under the theme “Graced for All Seasons: She’s Fashioned by God” – which was designed to empower women with strategies and skills to victoriously conquer all seasons of their lives.
In the men’s event, they are expected to be informed, inspired and transformed in an environment in which they will be equipped with strategies on how to effectively communicate.
They will also learn how to honestly and openly dialogue about their health, according to church officials, as it is believed that discussions concerning health are personal and private for most men. Financial advice and relationship discussions are also topics on the agenda to be discussed.
Dr. Eugene Marcus Cooper will cover “Health and Wellness 101”, Gregory Bethel will speak to “Money Management” and Dr. Wayne Thompson will address “Keys to Healthy Relationships”.
Church officials say with the various topics on the agenda, the men are expected to be able to speak freely in what they say will be an honest and open setting at BHC’s East Campus on Prince Charles Drive.
The man cave event is not open to women, but women, they say, are welcome to worship with them at any of the four Sunday services at which “Beyond the Cave” is the topic of the month for June. The BHC man cave experience can be had at the cost of $10.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.