Wednesday, December 13, 2017
News Roundup

Retreat aims to strengthen bond between fathers, sons

SPRING LAKE — Like most parent-child relationships, the years a father and son spend together can bring both joy and heartache. Real 3 Ministries exists to help ensure that the relationship is a good one by providing "real men" with "real challenges" and "real answers."

Using a verse from the Bible, 1 Corinthians 16:13, men and boys who attend the ministry's conferences and retreats are taught to "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong."

The idea for the ministry came to its founder, Mark Cravens of Lutz, in July after he had prayed and asked God: "What do real men need, Lord?"

"God poured out six pages over the next six hours (outlining) a conference addressing 'The Wake Up Call,' 'The Battle Cry,' 'Learn to Discern' and 'Iron Sharpens Iron,' " Cravens said. "One page was those four key areas, another the movie clips and music, another the roundtable discussion questions, another our skits, another our accountability and another the Scripture verses."

The ministry is a family affair, with Cravens' wife, Jill, writing the skits and their three sons acting in them.

Next weekend at Lakewood Retreat, fathers, grandfathers, uncles and mentors will have the opportunity to attend one of the retreats and share a bonding experience with their boys, ages 8 to 16.

Cravens, who has led men's ministries since 2004 and is certified by Living Free Ministries in counseling, hopes the event will help men and boys grow closer in their relationship with each other and in their calling to serve God, as was the case during a retreat there in February.

"Fourteen fathers and sons gathered together and disconnected from the outside world for the entire weekend to develop communication, trust and openness with each other," he said.

Everyone participated in an open teaching forum with questions and then broke into pairs to discuss what they had learned and how they would apply it to their lives.

"Each one developed a customized 'battle plan' so they could go home and start walking in victory — true victory," Cravens explained. "Not up and down victory-defeat, but true progression in their walk with the Lord and in his grace."

Jon VanVliet said he and his son, Brennen, benefited from the experience.

"My youngest son is 14, and I went to the retreat to improve our relationship and our spiritual walk together," said the Land O'Lakes resident. "God used the retreat to break down walls and improve our relationship."

During the weekend, the fathers and sons had quiet time to devote to prayer, as well as activities where they learned about traps the boys face in the areas of technology, purity, anger, rebellion and lies they have believed since childhood.

"Then they received the truth, and it set them free," Cravens said.

Object lessons, such as climbing through a "web" together and taking a "purity walk," helped everyone understand the need to communicate effectively.

VanVliet, who says he wishes he had handled the teenage years better with his adult sons, appreciated being able to accomplish so much in a camp setting.

"The ministry used various resources and fun activities available at Lakewood, which were appropriate for all ages and backgrounds," he said.

Peter Buczynsky and his 14-year-old son, Benjamin, also benefited from the experience.

"The blend of fireside chats, conference facilities, campfire breakfasts, archery and woods make it a perfect setting for adult men to be boys and boys to turn into men," Buczynsky said.

Finding time to spend with his son was important to Buczynsky.

"I have been working so much, and it seems no matter how I try to balance family and work, it seems my middle son gets the least amount of time," he said, noting that he also has a younger daughter with special needs. "Mark's teachings and the visual presentations spurred in-depth discussion between my son and I as we would take time and walk through the woods together."

Buczynsky, president of PharmaWorks Inc. in Odessa, spent time discussing sensitive subjects with his son, referring back to his youth and what he would have done differently.

"It was an opportunity to let our guard down and allow our hearts to speak," he said.

While Benjamin wasn't enthusiastic when his father first told him they were going to a retreat, afterward, he kept saying how great it was, Buczynsky said.

"We have both committed to certain things and have grown closer together," he said.

Buczynsky has some advice for other fathers.

"In 20 years, you would pay anything to come back to this moment of time to invest and spend more quality time with your sons, strengthening their foundation, teaching them how to be a man of God," he said. "Do it now. There is so little time, and you compete with so many distractions and influences already."

Comments
The Bucsí problem isnít how they finish; itís how they start

The Bucsí problem isnít how they finish; itís how they start

For the second straight week, the Buccaneers had the ball in the final minutes of a tie game.For the second straight week, they could not finish.As disappointing as that might be, they have a larger problem, and one that has existed all season: The B...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

ST. LOUIS ó This showdown was supposed to be about the best team in the East versus the best in the West. In reality, the Lightningís 3-0 win over the Blues on Tuesday night pretty much came down to this:Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of the best goalies ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Lottery resultsLottery numbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Tues., Dec. 12, midday:90 578 4984e_SRit30459Tues., Dec. 12, evening:85 659 2558e_SRit95745Fantasy 5Tue...
Updated: 2 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Dec. 12

Tuesdayís scoreboardGirls soccerCountryside 5, Tarpon Springs 0Palm Harbor U. 8, Alonso 0Boys soccerShorecrest 2, Indian Rocks Chr. 0Palm Harbor U. 3, Alonso 0Girls basketballNortheast 65, Dixie Hollins 25...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

LARGO ó Daniel Richards, on trial in the murder of his 83-year-old mother, began his own criminal defense on Tuesday by asking a few questions to the pool of prospective jurors."If you were accused of killing your mother, would you want to represent ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Career Q&A: Two bosses who donít care for each other

Career Q&A: Two bosses who donít care for each other

Q: I seem to be caught between two high-level managers who really donít like each other. One is a director, the other is a vice president, and I am an assistant to both. Whenever the director stops by my desk to chat, she makes critical remarks about...
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Pete losing two assistant police chiefs; one will join Rays

St. Pete losing two assistant police chiefs; one will join Rays

ST. PETERSBURG ó Two assistant police chiefs are stepping down next month, leaving two of the three second-in-command jobs vacant at the St. Petersburg Police Department.Assistant Chief Jim Previtera announced this week that he will resign from the d...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Winter meetings journal: Rays add more infield depth, claim it isnít prelude to a trade

LAKE BUENA VISTA ó The Rays on Tuesday adding their third infielder in the past two weeks would sure look like a precursor to trading front-liners such as 3B Evan Longoria or 2B Brad Miller.But GM Erik Neander insisted that was not the case and that ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

WASHINGTON ó Congressional Republicans on Tuesday rushed toward a deal on a massive tax package that would reduce the top tax rate for wealthy Americans to 37 percent and slash the corporate rate to a level slightly higher than what businesses and co...
Updated: 3 hours ago
GMs-turned-pundits believe now may be the time for Rays to sell

GMs-turned-pundits believe now may be the time for Rays to sell

LAKE BUENA VISTA ó The Rays have been doing a lot of talking, making another small deal Tuesday while still working toward bigger ones of a still-being-determined degree.And there have been a lot of baseball people at the winter meetings talking abou...
Updated: 3 hours ago