Tag Archives: Teaching

Mentoring

1 Timothy 5:1-2

5 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

We all need mentors. Not just in spiritual matters, but in all of ways of life. Elders are any people that are older than us and younger men are just that. The same goes for both men and women. It is an essential element in our growth as human beings and as Christians, as workers and as people of commerce. The world is full of people who can be our mentors and people who we can be mentors to. All we have to do is be open to the possibilities and we will see this all around us.

To illustrate this, I am going to share some of the mentors I have had in my life and also some of the people I have mentored. None of this is being done out of a boastful heart, but rather out of a heart that desires each and every one of you to take on the role of a mentor ads well as finding a mentor, no matter how old or how young. No matter what decade in life we are living, we can still learn new things and take on new challenges. I hope I continue to learn well past 100 and that I also continue to teach just as long.

One of the first mentors I can recall is my Grandpa. He was a rugged man who worked hard and long hours. My fondest memories of him was as a farm hand in Freeport, Maine. He would rise early in the morning to call the cows in and feed them while milking them at the same time. We used to go out early with him and call in the cows when we visited on vacation. “” Come Bawsss. Come Bawsss” was his call. The call would go ringing out through the fields and they slowly but surely would make their way in. they knew his voice.

We had the wonderful honor of helping hook up the milking machines and the undignified honor of pushing the mess out from the trench behind the cows. I remember once pushing so hard I went sliding down the chute with the mess, landing in a pile of manure. It took a while to clean up after that morning. I never wanted to do that chore again, but I learned that was not an option. I was much more careful after that. We also had the hard chore of helping bale the hay. Getting up on the bale wagon was a hot chore as we piled those hay bales as high as we would. We also had the chance to help run the pasteurizing machine and see the m ilk get picked up and go to market.

We often visited during calving season and got to name the calves when we did. This was one of our favorite jobs. The little guys were so cute and we would watch them grow through the years. My brother and I loved to compare how well our cows are doing and how much milk they gave. We also enjoyed the rope swing my Grandpa had extended from high in the rafters down across the barn floor. We would swing down from the hayloft and into the hay piles on a regular basis. Summers and Grandpa’s house were always much anticipated events.

Grandpa also had a lobster boat. Just behind his farm was Casco bay, one of the best lobster fishing bays in all of North America. We would go out on the boat with him and bring in the traps. I can still see the seagulls flying around waiting for the bait to be thrown out. They would call out regularly “Mine, Mine” just like in the movie “Finding Nemo.” Most of the lobsters we caught were already sold, but every once in a while, we would get one to eat that night. I have never been able to duplicate that taste. Fresh lobster is my favorite food!

When he retired from that job, he got married and moved to a little berg near Blue Hill Maine. There he started a big garden and worked on it all the time. We would go down to the seashore and dig fresh clams out of the mud at low tide. We would then bring them back to the house and have them steamed for supper. My oh my, what a feast! Grandpa died with his boots on, taking down a tree in the front yard. My mom told me later that was the way he should have gone as he was always a hard worker.

As I look at his life, I can see the work ethic he instilled within me. Not only him, but my mom as well. My mom had my dad leave her when I was five. She was the church secretary at the Congregational church where we grew up. She worked long, hard hours as she was involved in every aspect of the church, which required some night meetings as well. She raised us three kids alone and did a great job. Later she took a job at Norton Company in the HR department and eventually I landed a job there after wandering through life for a few years. That was a great job that I stayed with until I moved to Iowa 7 years later. Her hard work ethic paved the way for a good career for me.

In lasing on the torch, my kids have also garnered a strong work ethic, as I have become a mentor for them. They work long, hard hours and are faithful to their employers, something they have learned from both me and my wife. She has worked for the same company or a subsidiary in the same building for the last 30 years. And she has worked in a local restaurant for the same amount of time. She is a hard worker as well, instilling this into her children and now our one grandchild that works.

Yes, we are mentors to our children whether we realize it or not. We will instill in them virtues and bad habits as they grown and watch us. They learn from everything we do and go on in life to mimic much of it. Our children saw us working hard and being loyal to our place of work and they have done the same for the most part. Our grandchildren have seen the same and we pray they will have the same drive and ambition.

Spiritual mentors have been many for me and I am not going to point one or the other out at this time. One taught me to worship, one taught me to use my talents, one taught me to study the word, one taught me to rid myself of pride and one taught me to be a leader of men. All of them had different and meaningful impact on my life. I, on the other hand, have not been the spiritual leader I wish I had been. I was good at studying the word for myself, but not very good at letting my children see me doing so. I did not instill; in them a love for God and His word, but instead they saw someone who was inconsistent with the truths he espoused.

You see, I was a negative influence for God in their lives while I was a positive influence for others outside my home. None of my kids are now in church, although they all; confess a belief in God. They will all ask me for prayer when things are going on in their lives, and they will all ask me for advice. I wish I had been a better mentor for my kids through their growing years and realize I can still have that effect on their lives, but not with as much influence as I had in in those formative years. There are still many that I mentor in spiritual things, and I am indeed a disciple at my Pastor’s feet.

The one young man I most admire now is Bob. I met Bob as a teenager, a little wild and reckless, but with a heart for God. He would be around the tent meetings we went to, and would often attend the services during the day when I helped lead worship. Through the years I kept in touch with Bob, encouraging him in the Lord and watching him grown in his own right. Bob is one of the leading tent evangelists in the country right now, on the road 35 weeks out of the year carrying the gospel top the inner cities. I am so proud of what he has become and am humbled that I had just a little hand in that. I now learn a tremendous amount from him every time I am able to be in his services.

In business, I trained many salespeople, and had many trainers. But my very favorite trainer was Larry. He was such a good friend and such a solid influence in my life. I will never forget the many lessons on sales and persistence that he taught me and they have carried on through the years. He taught me to never burn a bridge, to keep good call records, to always follow up quickly, to send thank you cards and to be persistent all the time. We had a great friendship which was recently renewed as he came to visit me at a book signing. I cried when he walked in, so glad to see him after about 20 years apart. We reminisced for a while as he told me lessons, he had learned from me! All the while I thought of him as my mentor, and here he had learned from me as well. It can go both ways!

One of my favorite employees became a mentee of mine. Craig came straight from a factory job, never having an ounce of sales. I could teach him everything Larry taught me and he would eat it up. Craig became a top sales rep with our company and has moved on to be a leader for another company in sales. I like to think I had something to do with his success and am thrilled every time we have a chance to get back together. It is a blessing to know you helped someone start a career and become successful, and now they have moved on to greater things.

These are just a few examples. I could go on for another hundred pages of all the people who have ben mentors to me and who I have mentored. I would like you to give thought to all the people in your life that you have mentored or who have mentored you. If you feel so brave, leave a note in the comments about such people. It is good to acknowledge them and thank them. We owe our life to them in many ways. Seek out mentors and seek out people to mentor.

Jesus told us to make disciples of all men. Isn’t that what mentoring in the faith does? It teaches all men (and women of course) about the disciplines of our faith. Making disciples and mentoring someone in the things of God is the same thing. Let’s all find a way to make this happen, for these were some of Jesus last words to the disciples and to us before he finally arose to heaven to sit with His Father. Wouldn’t His last words seem to be the ones He most wants us to adhere to?

Don’t Worry, Be Praying

Philippians 4:6

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving

let your requests be made known unto God.:

 

You might remember song from decades ago that told us “Don’t worry, be happy”. It was quite a hit back then and it was a lot of fun to sing. The beauty of that song is there’s a lot of truth to it. Philippians 4 6 it’s a reminder to us that God has things in control.

The first thing Paul says is to be careful for nothing.  That word careful can literally mean full of care. It can also mean don’t worry. I want to take you back to Matthew chapter 6 during The Sermon on the Mount. Jesus tells his disciples to consider the lilies of the field.  They don’t work but they’re clothed. Or consider the birds flying in the air. They don’t work but they’re fed. Our heavenly Father loves us a lot more than He loves them. And what does Jesus tell us to do?  Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you (Matt 6:33).

Then he goes on to say we should take no thought for tomorrow. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.  Again, Jesus is telling us not to worry about what’s coming tomorrow. Now that doesn’t mean we should hide our head in the sand and not plan for a future. All of us have schedules to keep, and God expects us to be faithful to those things we are committed to, like work, kids events, church, etc.  We have to plan our days accordingly.  What Jesus means is that we need to concentrate on today and serving God today and fulfilling the Great Commission today. We’re not sure whether we’ll even be alive tomorrow.

One of my favorite authors is a man named Fenelon. One of my all-time favorite quotes of his is “Don’t insult today by looking for a better tomorrow”. Fenelon rights over and over again about the fact that we have only been given enough grace for today, for this very moment. We cannot possibly know what situations we will get into tomorrow, but when we do God will give us the grace to make it through. There is absolutely no reason to worry my friends.

After all that he tells us that we should take everything to the Lord in prayer. If we’re in a position where we might worry that’s a great time to pray.  Not just pray “Lord save me from this situation” but pray and give thanks that God is going to deliver you. We see this over and over again in the Psalms. David is talking to the Lord about his enemies being close at hand or overcoming him and then in the very next sentence he’s giving the Lord thanks and praise for delivering his for him from his enemies. This is the attitude we need to have every day.

David also says we should take everything to the Lord in Prayer by supplications. Supplication is a stronger word than prayer. It’s almost like begging but it’s in a humble fashion. A person who gives supplications feels unworthy to do so but they need an answer.  So they continue asking until the answer comes. They are not so high and mighty that they think they deserve one, they just know that the person they are asking is faithful.

The umbrella of Thanksgiving over all of our requests is huge. Not only giving thanks for the answer but giving thanks for the to the one who provides the answer. We should be in a continual attitude of praise to our Heavenly Father as we go before Him with our requests. Never take his Mercy for granted.

A Soul Winning Proposition

 Philippians 4:5

 “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”

Typically, we see the word moderation and we think of avoiding excesses in our lives.  When something or someone is in the middle of two extremes, we say it is moderate.  In politics, a moderator is someone who is not completely in line with the agenda of his/her own party affiliation, but they tend to support policies on both sides.  If the weather man says temperatures will moderate in the next few days, that means temperatures have been above or below normal, and they are going to get back to the middle somewhere.  If I say I am a moderate drinker, I may have one or two drinks a day and not get drunk at all.

But Paul is not talking about moderation that way.  The word translated moderation here is the Greek word epieikes.  In every other instance this is used in the New Testament, it is translated “gentle”.  Other modern translations take this verse and come up with “Let your gentle spirit be known unto all men”.  We will use that translation for our study.

Paul is urging the Philippians to show their self-restraint and patience in their dealings with one another.  What a valuable lesson for all of us.  I believe they used the word moderation in the King James because to do what Paul is asking, they had to moderate from hard fast rules of the church too allow for new converts as they learned the right path.   Think about it for a minute.  When you first got saved, were you instantly free of all your sinful ways?  Did you take up all Christian values right away?  Not me!

I got saved in Iowa, and traveled back to my home state of Massachusetts a day after that took place.  I had no one to tell me what I should be doing now that I had accepted Christ.  I knew I should be going to church, so I went back to the Congregational Church (UCC) I grew up in.  My mom had been the church secretary for years, and everyone knew who I was.  But I was now a hippie – long hair, known around town for drugs and trouble.  When I walked in that church, heads turned for sure.

I started reading my bible because I heard on the 700 Club that you should read the Bible through in a year, so I set out to do that.  I started visiting with the Pastor once a week during lunch to discuss this new-found Christianity.  I went to church every Sunday, sang in the choir, got involved in some other things, and seemed to be doing good.  But on my own time, I was still drinking and doing drugs.  I had problems.

The point I am trying to make is that a new Christian must be given time to learn what a Christian should be in total.  We must allow them to grow at their own pace, with words of encouragement along the way.  Remember, they are mere babes in Christ.  Just because they don’t grow at the pace we would like them to does not mean that they are any less a Christian than we are.

And why should we be gentle with them?  Because the Lord is at hand!  We do not want them to turn back on their faith.  Our goal is to bring as many people into the kingdom as possible before the Lord returns.  If we are too demanding, we will lose the babes and frighten away anyone else who might be on the edge.  So le’s allow our moderation to be known – it’s a soul winning proposition.

What A Day That Wil Be

Philippians 3:21

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

 In the end, we will gain the victory.  Paul finishes off chapter three before the glorious conclusion of the book in Chapter 4, with a wonderful promise of our future life in heaven, and Jesus all powerful nature.  It’s the perfect way to finish off this section which has discussed how we must give our lives, and all we have accomplished, for His service.

First, He will change this vile body so it will be fashioned like His glorious body.  Who alive can’t wait for that day?

No more sickness, no more pain. no more heartache over there. 

No more sniffles, no more coughs, no more sneezes will I bear. 

No more suffering will I face. 

No more sadness in that place. 

No more hurts that will bring my eyes to tears.

 

Full of joy, full of love, full of hope all of my days

Songs of praise, Lifting hands, worship all around the place

All is peace forevermore

On that happy, golden shore

I can’t wait to see my Saviors face

 

This is what awaits us if we have accepted Jesus as our Savior and lived an overcoming life of repentance.  Remember, even Jesus said that not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter heaven (Matt 7:21-23), but those that do the Father’s will.  God wants us to live the life of an overcomer (see Rev chapters 2 and 3).  And repentance (read the Psalms).  It’s not enough to ask Him once at an alter and then never change.  It’s not enough to tither, or go to church, or do a lot of good deeds.  He must be Savior and Lord, Master and King.  You say it’s too much!  I have to give my life up?  It’s too demanding.  I’ll have no freedom!  I’ll tell you it’s quite the opposite. Free from sin. shame, guilt, fear, doubt, hopelessness.  Alive in Him.  It’s heaven on earth!  When the one who has all power to change your circumstances is Lord, you gain everything.  And that brings me to the next promise.

He works this in us by His power.  The power that can subdue all things, all troubles, all circumstances, all heartaches, all enemies.  There is nothing and no one He hasn’t already defeated.  God has put all things under Jesus feet (Eph 1:22).  He’s the one who will change our vile bodies into the likeness of His glorious body on the day we enter heaven.  What a day that will be!

Spiritual Circumcision

Philippians 3:3

“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”

Let’s look at the first part of this.  Paul says we are the circumcision which worship God in spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus. Circumcision went back to Abraham’s time.  He was told to remove the foreskin on his children so that they could be set apart from other people. Circumcision was a strictly Jewish tradition starting with Abraham.

We see Moses circumcised his son and we see Joshua and the Israelites circumcising themselves after they crossed the Jordan River. Now let me tell you, I had a circumcision when I was 40 and Israel was completely vulnerable to attack when they perform this after crossing the Jordan River. Any adversary could have come in and destroyed the whole nation. It took quite a trust in God to perform that at that time.

But the church is founded on the faith of Abraham.  The bible says Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness (Heb 11:6). That is the spiritual circumcision and that is what Paul is talking about here. The Jews had confidence in the flesh because of circumcision. But we are spiritual Israel and have no confidence in the flesh, no matter what we’ve accomplished.  It is only in Christ Jesus that we have salvation and it’s only by grace through faith but that comes (Eph 2:8-9).

Paul is now going to go into a Litany of his accomplishments and explain that he takes no confidence in the flesh but if anyone could he could.  It will be an interesting journey to look at that and I hope you stay tuned.