God’s Heart for Mentoring
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 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. Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:1-3 NIv
God’s heart for mentoring is motivated by love: love for God and love for people to grow in grace and love for God. I have been blessed by multiple mentors over the years. Men loved me where I was, but loved me too much to allow me to remain where I was in my relationship with Christ, my wife, children, family, and friends. Because these men intentionally invested in me — I seek to prayerfully invest time, energy, and money in other men. I am an imperfect person helping other imperfect people grow in the perfect love of Jesus. God has a heart for mentoring.
Paul affectionally refers to Timothy as his son in the faith. The older saw potential in the younger. Timothy’s humility made him teachable and a worthy candidate to grow stronger in the grace of Christ Jesus. Paul boldly challenged Timothy in the presence of others to select qualified men who would also teach other men. Like training a good soldier — effective mentoring requires discipline, sacrifice, and suffering. Since life change necessitates life engagement, mentors do life with those who want a better life. Invest in reliable people — who will invest in reliable people.
“Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. But select capable men from all the people — men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain — and appoint them as officials…” (Exodus 18:20-21 NIV)
If you wait to mentor until you feel perfectly qualified, you will never mentor. Those who influence the most feel the least qualified. They are vulnerable with their own struggles, sins, and shortcomings. The younger can relate to the older who are real about their insecurities, fears, and failures. Like Paul, you invite sincere seekers to join you in your journey with Jesus through life. The great adventure of faith is not without tests and trials. But together — young and old — you persevere together. Start with one who wants to grow — then expand into a small community.
Radical Mentoring is a proven process for you to follow. I have used this for years and it works beautifully. By invitation only, you invite six to eight hungry hearts into your home once a month for a year. You read books, memorize scripture, and experience two overnight retreats together. Use whatever system works for you. You may say, “Where do I start?” Begin in prayer. Ask the Lord to lead you to people who have a passion to grow in their faith, character, and relationships. Most of all, lean into the Holy Spirit to teach your mind and heart. Mentors are loved by God.
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” (Psalm 143:8 NIV)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to love and mentor others in a way that grows them in Your love.
Application: Who can I ask to join me for a yearlong journey together in a radical mentoring group?
Related Readings: Psalm 119:12; Acts 6:3; 1 Corinthians 4:15-17; 2 Thessalonians 3:9; Hebrews 6:12, Hebrews 13:7
Abounding in Thanksgiving in a World of Grumbling –
by Mike Pohlman, crosswalk.com, Author
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. – Colossians 2:6-7
My family and I just completed our first full week in our new home in Richmond, Virginia after leaving Los Angeles to begin my new job. And if I’m honest I cannot say I’ve been “abounding in thanksgiving” over the last several days. No. In fact, “abounding in grumbling” may be the more accurate phrase to describe my disposition of late. I’ve grumbled about the weather, traffic, leaves, the movers and a myriad of other things petty and not-so-petty. None of this grumbling, however, has been constructive or justified. And, most importantly, it’s been sinful.
To help combat this steady bombardment of grumbling I corralled our children the other night for a family time of thanksgiving. You’ve probably practiced this exercise many times as well: go from person-to-person and highlight things you’re thankful for (it’s tough to grumble when you pause to consider the many blessings in your life).
It took my nine-year-old Samuel some time to get warmed up, but eventually he offered a short list of things he’s thankful for, including our new church. Anna was next. What would our seven-year-old daughter express gratitude for? Her new neighbor friends across the street and the Bible. Good stuff. Finally it was John’s turn. He echoed his big brother on some things and agreed with Anna that the neighbors are great, and then with the zeal of most six-year-old boys who love sports, Johnny thanked God for his new basketball hoop out front (and proceeded to remind me of how he beat me in “21” over the weekend, 21 to 17). As Julia left to put our newborn down for the night, I shared with the kids several things I was thankful for. But it wasn’t until the next day that I realized the inadequacy of my list.
While I voiced gratitude for God generally, I failed to highlight specific attributes of God that, when I consider them, cause me to “abound in thanksgiving.” Driving to work the next morning I found myself asking, “What is it about God that I am most grateful for?”
The one attribute of God that flooded my heart and mind was His providence—the fact that He orchestrates everything in my life for His glory and my good. It’s the promise of Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
In his helpful book, Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate, Jerry Bridges applies Romans 8:28 to the sin of ingratitude. He counsels: “The meaning is that God causes all things to work together for good; for ‘things’—that is, circumstances—do not work together for good themselves. Rather, God directs the outcome of those circumstances for our good.” And what is the “good” God is working? Christlikeness. Indeed, all of our circumstances God uses as a means of our sanctification. I began to abound in thanksgiving as I visualized God as the great conductor over my circumstances, using them as an instrument for my growth in grace.
This Thanksgiving holiday I want me and my family to be “abounding in thanksgiving.” And for this to happen I know being thankful for God in a merely general sense will not suffice. We need to meditate on some particular glories of our great God—not least of which is His sweet providence over our lives. For this I am most grateful.
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5 NASB
In the first years after Dean Smith became the basketball coach at the University of North Carolina, many thought he would be fired. His team did not win many games, and he could not seem to turn the team around. But in an interview, he told how his life changed when he read Catherine Marshall’s book Beyond Our Selves.
Marshall had become discouraged while writing a book about her first husband, Peter Marshall. But reminded of John 15, she realized that the key to success was depending completely on God.
Instead of feeling discouraged, she welcomed this feeling of not being sufficient in herself, realizing she could draw on God’s strength. After realizing she was inadequate, she could turn to “the inexhaustible sufficiency of God.” This was “the power of helplessness.”
Marshall began praying a “prayer of helplessness.” This was a confession of her utter dependence on God. She found that He gave her everything she needed. Looking to Jesus as the vine, she became a best-selling author. Dean Smith learned this principle as well and became one of history’s most successful college coaches.
Do you feel helpless? Weak? Start focusing on Jesus. Seek Him. Trust Him to give you the wisdom and ability you need. Ask Him to empower you, teach you, and provide for you. Remember, you are a branch, and He is the vine. Apart from Him, you can do nothing!
Wanted: A Good King
Scripture Reading — Deuteronomy 17:14-20
“Be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses.” — Deuteronomy 17:15
The idea of having a king or ruler is common throughout human history and culture. But what does an ideal king look like? By what standard should a king be measured?
In today’s passage, the Lord, through Moses, anticipates that the time will come when Israel will want a king like all the other nations have. So here God gives his law for appointing a human king; he lays out the basic job requirements and gives a standard by which kings will be measured.
Note too that God shows that having a human king is optional. It is neither required nor forbidden. If the people want a king, the king must be someone from among them, both divinely chosen and appointed by the people.
The description of this king may seem surprising. He is not to have too much in the way of weapons, wives, or wealth. Though Israel may get the idea of the king from surrounding nations, the ideal for kingship will actually be countercultural. The kings of other nations used weapons, wives, and wealth to proclaim and advance their reign. But that was not to be the way in Israel.
For those of us who proclaim Christ as King, we note how different he is from worldly kings. His kingship is humble and peaceful because he reigns with God’s love and goodness, maintaining righteousness and true justice everywhere.