Wednesday, April 18, 2018

MANTLES AND MENTORING


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I Was Just Thinking About – MANTLES AND MENTORING.

A foible in life is that many people do not allot or make time to invest in another's life by becoming positively engaged and involved in it. Mentoring means: “a wise or trusted adviser or guide; one who trains another.” The Biblical model is the ministry of Jesus Christ and the training of the twelve. His injunction was simple and clear: “Follow Me…I will make you…” into that which I want you to be – “fishers of men.” He was the teacher and example for what He wanted them to become and be for Him in ongoing ministry effort.

Mentoring involves God bringing two or more people together where a younger man can learn and benefit from the ministry, life and training of one who is experienced in ministry. While this happens often in the secular field (one becoming an apprentice of an experienced person), the focus in this Blog is the need for it to occur more frequently in the spiritual area. The idea of mentoring is to maintain that which must be ongoing with practical instruction and guidance. It is the desire that trial by error can and will be avoided.

A difficulty is the desire of the one needing mentoring to be willing to receive it. I recently watched a program on this subject by two ministers who had been mentored and were given opportunity to mentor others. It did remind me of an experience of several years ago. I was part of a small group of both layman and ministers who met weekly. On one occasion, there was a Spirit-led time of transparency. As different ones shared areas of vulnerability, there was time of prayer for the individual who was sharing a sense of need and inadequacy. I felt led to share a vulnerability and was interrupted by a dear brother in Christ (now in the presence of the Lord) who said: “And I thought you had your act together.”

It was not timely or helpful, but it was hurtful. Why hurtful? From age five, I did not have the relationship with my earthly father. He was in the Hospital and died when I was age seven. I grew up in a community and atmosphere where I was told that I’d never amount to anything and was even referred to with a coarse term that is defined as being illegitimate. In my childhood and teen years, it was my sister who consistently showed me love and affirmation. There were a handful of layman who nudged me along as well.  

It reminds one of I Corinthians 4:14-16 and the principle of mentoring, “I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. Even if you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.” The other reminder is in I Kings 19:16, the Lord directs Elijah, “Elisha you shall anoint to be prophet in your place.” Elijah was obedient to the Lord’s directive, First Kings 19:19 (NASB), “Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle (cloak) on him.” Paul wrote to Timothy about the significance of mentoring, II Timothy 2:2 (NIV), “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”

There are many passages to note on the subject of mentoring. Basically, it means one should be willing and ready to invest his/her life in that of another person(s). Sometime, the lack of peer acceptance is a detriment to ones mentoring desire and effort. In 2012, I wrote about peer acceptance and appreciation in a book – Realizing Significance. Part of the theme indicates there are no unneeded, insignificant, unacceptable, inconsequential or little people in God’s kingdom. Francis Schaefer wrote: “There are no little people and no big people. There are either consecrated people or unconsecrated people.”

Relationally, can we remember this as we try to mentor others? Have you made a difference in another’s life and ministry? Have you allowed yourself to be vulnerable when reaching out to another with “the things you have heard” and learned so they can “entrust (it) to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others”?

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.





Monday, April 16, 2018

IDENTIFICATION


I Was Just Thinking About – IDENTIFICATION.

How would you identify yourself? What do you do? What is the chief concern you have presently? How would I like to be identified? What do I do? How would I like to be identified? There are many ways these questions can be answered but narrowing it down to a brief sentence/phrase of five words, what would you say or write?

A suggested list for the Biblical Christian is given in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5): “I am meek! I am poor in spirit. I am humble! I am merciful! I hunger/thirst for righteousness! I am pure in heart!” Some would deem that to be presumptive, fanatical or dodging the question! But – should it? Isn’t this what Jesus was teaching and requiring? Why is one hesitant to say so? Psalm 107:2 (NASB), “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary.” Isn’t that who we are? Isn’t that our true identity in Jesus Christ? Redeemed by Jesus Christ and made a new creation in/by Him? Yes! Our song could be the words written by Fanny Crosby,
Redeemed—how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child, and forever, I am.

A broader question arises when one is confronted with adversity. How does one respond or react at such times? A testimony about a devastating moment is shared in A Story About A Hymn. Some of the detail is: “In 1978, cancer was discovered in Ron Hamilton’s left eye. Many people in his circumstance would be emotionally devastated and cave in, yield to self-pity or even leave the faith. Although Ron and his wife Shelly never fully understood why God allowed him to go through this ordeal, they committed everything to God’s gracious hand and let His will be done. He said, Hearing a doctor say I had cancer and may die was a very sobering experience. Many people would see the loss of my eye and the need for wearing a patch as a great trial. But I see it as one of the greatest blessings of my life. It reminds me that God teaches us the greatest lessons in the deepest valleys. Immediately after the loss of his eye due to cancer, Ron Hamilton penned a song based on Philippians 4:4, which says: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice.”

Our renewed perspective and purpose for life could also be song in the words of the Hymn: O, Rejoice in the Lord. The lyrics include:

God never moves without purpose or plan
When trying His servant and molding a man.
Give thanks to the Lord though your testing seems long;
In darkness He giveth a song.

I could not see through the shadows ahead;
So I looked at the cross of my Savior instead.
I bowed to the will of the Master that day;
Then peace came and tears fled away.

Now I can see testing comes from above;
God strengthens His children and purges in love.
My Father knows best, and I trust in His care;
Through purging more fruit I will bear.
Refrain:
O Rejoice in the Lord He makes no mistake,
He knoweth the end of each path that I take,
For when I am tried And purified,
I shall come forth as gold.

May these words uplift your carking (burdensome) anxieties and cause you to “Rejoice in the Lord” today and all the days of your life. May this be your identification and witness.

Prayerfully – consider these things with me!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

CULTURAL OBLIGATION


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I Was Just Thinking About – CULTURAL OBLIGATION.

A question that confronts all of us: Can any one individual influence or impact the culture? Does one’s life have any value as illumination in the midst of darkness? Can you and/or I make a difference?

In Romans 1:14-16 NKJV), Paul stated, “I am under obligation…I am ready…I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” It is this sense of personal commitment and obligation to which each of us should subscribe. Near the end of his life, Paul wrote – II Timothy 2:1-3, “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure[a]hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

A dear friend posted a Glenn Sunshine post on the subject of Culture. He wrote: "One of the signs of a great society is the diligence with which it passes culture from one generation to the next. This culture is the embodiment of everything the people of that society hold dear: its religious faith, it's heroes…when one generation no longer esteems its own heritage and fails to pass the torch to its children, it is saying in essence that the very foundational principles and experiences that make the society what it is are no longer valid. This leaves that generation without any sense of definition or direction, making them the fulfillment of Karl Marx's dictum, A people without a heritage are easily persuaded. What is required when this happens and the society has lost its way, is for leaders to arise who have not forgotten the discarded legacy and who loves it with all their hearts. They can then become the voice of that lost generation, wooing an errant generation back to the faith of their fathers, back to the ancient foundations and bedrock values." - Winston Churchill from "Never Give In", Page 190.

The sentence that captured my attention was: “One of the signs of a great society is the diligence with which it passes culture from one generation to the next. This culture is the embodiment of everything the people of that society hold dear: its religious faith, it's heroes…when one generation no longer esteems its own heritage and fails to pass the torch to its children, it is saying in essence that the very foundational principles and experiences that make the society what it is are no longer valid.”

What heritage, legacy and cultural values are we passing on to our generation? Our children’s generation? Our Grandchildren’s generation? There is a Worship Chorus, written by Eleanor Murraybased upon Acts 1:8, that expresses the concern that each follower of Jesus Christ should embrace.
Ye are My witnesses, 'Tis the Lord's command. 

Ye are My witnesses; I have no other plan. 
How shall they hear? How shall they believe? 
Until the gospel they receive? 
For Christ said Ye are My witnesses, 
I have no other plan.

While Proof Reading a book epilogue, the following was stated: “Harry Reeder published a book on Church Revitalization, titled From Embers To A Flame. He wrote against this statistical background:About 90 percent of all churches in North America average 100 people or less at worship. Over 80 percent of established American Churches are either on a plateau or decline. Every year 3,000 – 4,000 churches die in this country. An average of fifty to 60 congregation of American Congregations choose to dissolve every week. If these statistics are accurate (and they are verifiable from several sources), do we believe we have any responsibility and obligation in this area? Do we believe Jesus Christ has a solution for this religious epidemic that prevails in 2018?

Read Revelation 2:4-7, (J. B. Phillips New Testament): Jesus Christ is speaking: “I hold this against you, that you do not love Me as you did at first. Remember then how far you have fallen. Repent and live as you lived at first. Otherwise, if your heart remains unchanged, I shall come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Let every listener hear what the Spirit says to the Churches: To the victorious I will give the right to eat from the tree of life which grows in the paradise of God.”

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.