D.W.I.S.—“Do What It Says”
by Dale Reeves
Yesterday at Christ’s Church our lead pastor talked about how we need to work at building quality friendships. Jesus set the ultimate example for us by demonstrating self-sacrificing commitment for his friends. This kind of unconditional love comes at a price, but it also comes with some great benefits. The goal for all of us as we develop lasting relationships is that we would make those around us better, that we would help our friends experience the kind of full life that we can have in Christ. And, this can really happen when we demonstrate loyalty to the others whom God has sent our way.
One of our elders at church, David Buckley, leads a group of men every Saturday morning who have learned a few things about building deep friendships through loyalty. Some of the men in his community group have been together for ten years. The group started with four men who decided to get together after a challenge at a Father’s Day men’s event at Christ’s Church. They met for six weeks, then agreed that they all needed more fellowship and study together—over coffee. Each week they studied through different books and chapters of the Bible and talked about how God’s Word applied to what they were experiencing as husbands, fathers, sons, leaders, and coworkers.
Growing Larger, Growing Deeper
Ten years have passed, and Dave’s men’s group has grown from just four men to include sixteen guys. On any given Saturday morning, they usually have six-eight guys who are able to meet together. Their ages range from the late thirties to mid-sixties. Some guys are married, others are single, some have young kids (or kids on the way), some have teenagers, some have kids in college, and some of them have grown kids with their own children now. They run the gamut of professions, including doctors, pilots, business professionals, entrepreneurs, school board members, independent contractors, and retired guys. But they all have one thing in common, as Dave summarizes: “We all realize the benefit from our time together—discussing God’s Word, wrestling with how to be more like Christ, encouraging each other through hard times, debating our favorite hobbies and sports interests, and doing life together.”
Dave’s group exemplifies what Solomon meant when he wrote, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17, ESV).
Dave says the guys not only meet together every Saturday morning, but they also lift each other up with encouraging texts and prayer requests throughout the week. He adds, “We see each other as fellow sons of God—not perfect on our own—but part of God’s family together. We encourage each other when we see one of us doubting ourselves or wrestling with something. If we haven’t seen or heard from one of us, we call and check in and don’t allow ourselves to fall into the isolation trap. And, even though we are all grown men, we don’t take each other too seriously. We laugh a lot when we are together.”
Obeying God’s Word
Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (NIV).
This key Scripture verse sets the bar for the kind of loyal, committed friendships we should have with our friends. When asked how Dave has seen loyalty play out in the members of his men’s group, he responds, “When guys have had doubts about job direction or an ability to handle a situation with a spouse or kids, we have always been there to lift each other up. When we wrestle with different topics or how to interpret God’s Word, we listen to each other and give each other grace when maybe we have seen things differently. We try to keep the ‘main thing’ the ‘main thing.’”
The group has a theme Bible verse: James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (NIV). This verse led the group to call themselves by the name, DWIS—“Do What It Says!” They strive to put into practice the two commands Jesus said were the most important: 1. Love God. 2. Love Others.
Just a few months after the group began, one of the guys was at the hospital with his wife and new son who had just been born, so the other three guys took the meeting to the car that week. They picked up bagels and coffee and delivered them to their friend and his family at the hospital. On multiple occasions over the years, the group members have helped each other out in practical ways such as moving homes or moving offices. It’s all part of DWIS!
Running the Race Together
Being in community together isn’t always easy. The peaks and valleys of life surface in a variety of ways. This men’s group has been there to support each other through both seasons of life. Dave says, “During the tough times we lift each other up in prayer and we point one another back to God’s Word and promises. He doesn’t promise life will be without challenges. In fact, Jesus tells us we will face challenges, but we know (and we have witnessed together) how God sharpens us through the challenges of life. I have seen firsthand how God has worked through the guys in my group in my own dark days—whether that be health concerns, issues with work, or concerns over how to handle things with my kids. The guys in this group have been there to help me every time.”
Dave continues, “These men spur me on. They offer advice or encouragement at just the right time. On many occasions when I have been tempted to let down my guard, I’m reminded by the guys in my group to stay strong, remain in the race, and keep pursuing Christ’s example.”
The apostle Paul would agree with Dave as he challenges us, “Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless” (Philippians 2:16, NLT).
Dave’s community group of men know what it means to run the race side by side. They are striving together to be like Christ in their communities. Dave observes, “I have seen guys step out in leadership to take on visible roles in our community such as volunteering on school boards and leading in tough positions. I have seen others offer their medical skills and knowledge to provide comfort and counseling to those facing health issues in their families. I have seen them share extreme acts of sacrificial giving using their business assets to support others in need, such as by flying someone to see a sick family member. I have seen others use their music talents to be part of the worship team at church, or lead small groups in our youth ministry. ‘Do What It Says’ drives us to love God and love others!”
If you’re interested in coming alongside this group of men, I encourage you to sign up HERE.