Pastor follows David's path to escape the dark
BY BILL SHERMAN World Religion Writer
Saturday, October 06, 2012
10/06/12 at 6:25 AM
Looking relaxed and fit in a baseball cap, running shorts and a sleeveless shirt that showed off a tattoo he got on his 50th birthday, Tulsa pastor and Oral Roberts University professor Jeff Voth sat down at Panera Bread recently to talk about his book "CaveTime."
Voth is lead pastor of Cornerstone Family Church, 3434 S. Garnett Road. He pastored a Denver-area church while completing his doctorate degree, co-pastored the former Life Connection church in Jenks, now merged with Sanctuary Church, and before that was an associate pastor at the former Higher Dimensions Family Church in Tulsa, leaving when senior pastor Carlton Pearson adopted a universalist theology counter to the teaching of evangelicalism.
Voth said he discovered the principles behind his book during a particularly stressful time of his life as he approached middle age.
"I became depressed and began to have panic attacks," he said. "I went into what (one writer) has called the dark night of the soul."
Unable to sleep, Voth said, he began to engage Scripture in the middle of the night, particularly the story of David, the shepherd boy who killed a giant with a slingshot and later was chased and terrorized by King Saul.
Discouraged and fearful, David hid out in a cave and eventually was joined by 400 of his followers, men who were "indebted, distressed and despondent."
They emerged from the cave to become the mighty men of Israel, and David became Israel's most celebrated king.
"I found five things that David did," Voth said.
He showed up with God. He worshipped. He prayed. He interacted with the Scripture. And he met with some men - he had a band of brothers.
Voth said he similarly used his sleepless vigils to meet with God, worship, pray and engage the Scriptures.
He started meeting with other men, and they began to call their time together, "Cave time."
"Those five things became a habit for my own life. They helped me to begin climbing out of the darkness. Not immediately. It was organic. But over a period of time, I started to see the light. Things got better.
"Over the last 27 years, I've seen guys bare their souls over a campfire, or in a duck blind, in a way they never would in church," he said.
Cave time is time that men spend in a place of refuge, where they escape from life's assaults to receive strength and courage to be what God intends them to be, Voth said.
"The reason this cave time thing has really gotten traction, in my opinion, is that it worked for me," he said.
He explored the cave time concept in his doctoral thesis, and it became the foundation of the book, published in August, which is selling well.
"I believe it's the story of every man," he said.
He and author Cliff Graham will present the concepts Oct. 19 and 20 in a men's conference called CaveTime Day of War Weekend at Dry Gulch USA near Adair. Men are invited to bring their sons, middle school age and older.
What: CaveTime Day of War Weekend
When: Oct. 19-20
Where: Dry Gulch USA, 572 Dry Gulch Road, Adair
Cost: $99, includes all materials and meals
To register: tulsaworld.com/cavetime
Jeff Voth booksigning
2-4 p.m. Oct. 20
Lifeway Christian Store
10333 E. 71st St.
Original Print Headline: In the steps of David
Bill Sherman 918-581-8398
Jeff Voth, a pastor and professor, runs last week near 96th Street and Riverside Drive. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World