If you would like to send your offering through the mail, our mailing address is:
CrossPointe Community Church
P O Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE SCRIPTURE AND SERMON TITLE IS THE SAME AS LAST WEEK. THE REASON IS LAST SUNDAY’S MESSAGE UNEXPECTEDLY MORPHED INTO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. THE MESSAGE BELOW HAS BEEN MODIFIED FOR THE BETTER.
Jesus came and told His disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.Mathew 28:18-20
Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things. Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach. And because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained. So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.
This is a trustworthy saying: If we die with him, we will also live with him. If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us. If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is. Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. This kind of talk spreads like cancer, as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus. They have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith. But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The LORD knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the LORD must turn away from evil.”
In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.II Timothy 2:1-22
I stole my message title today from John Philipps of The Mamas and the Papas fame.
A bit of free advice, we’ll tell it to you now,
If you’ve got some habits some people won’t allow
Be cool; be clean, if you know what I mean.
Speaking of advice, in 1919, a man recovering from injuries suffered in WWI rented a small apartment in Chicago near the home of Sherwood Anderson, the famous author, who penned among other works, the widely praised Winesburg, Ohio, and was known for his willingness to help younger writers. The two became fast friends and spent nearly every day together for two years. They shared meals, took long walks, and discussed at length the craft of writing. The younger man often brought samples of his work, and the veteran supplied brutally honest criticism. The younger man would listen and take careful notes, and then go back to his typewriter with a renewed passion to improve his work. That young man later said, “I didn’t know how to write until I met Sherwood Anderson.”
In 1926, the younger man published his first novel, The Sun Also Rises, which received critical acclaim. That young man’s name was? Ernest Hemmingway.
But that wasn’t the end of influencing for Sherwood Anderson. For if it wouldn’t have been for his willingness to spend time helping young authors, you wouldn’t be recognizing as I speak the names of William Faulkner and John Steinbeck. In all, three of Anderson’s protégé’s earned Nobel Prizes and four Pulitzer Prizes. 1
The life of Sherwood Anderson illustrates a fundamental principle of human experience; that the greatest means of impacting the future is to build into another person’s life. This process is called mentoring.
In my mind, Christian mentoring is an intentional way of influencing either groups or individuals in such a way that the lives of the person or persons being mentored are more congruent with God’s will and ways; therefore; having a significant positive impact on the future of the Kingdom of God.
Although the word mentor does not appear in the Bible, the Bible provides us with many fine examples of mentoring.
In the Old Testament, Moses mentored Joshua, Naomi mentored Ruth, Eli mentored Samuel, Samuel mentored both Saul and David, Elijah mentored Elisha, and so on.
In the Proverbs, the author, Solomon, encourages mentoring: Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
In the New Testament, the greatest example of a mentor is Jesus, who spent three years mentoring His disciples. and whose last words encouraged them (and us) to do likewise:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching (teaching is mentoring, is it not?) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.Matthew 28:19-20a
In the Book of Acts, we have the example of Barnabus taking Paul under his wing when the latter was a fairly new convert.
And, of course, the Apostle Paul mentors several people, including his dear son in the faith, Timothy. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul engages in mentoring:
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. (2:15-16)
Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. (2:22)
Sounds like free advice to me. If Timothy is wise and humble enough to take Paul’s advice, he will grow and so will the Kingdom of God.
Paul not only mentors Timothy, but he also encourages Timothy to mentor others:
Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach (mentor) things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach (mentor) these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on (mentor) to others (2:1-2).
So, from what Paul says, all Christians are encouraged to be involved in mentoring in some fashion that is appropriate to the spiritual wisdom we have obtained and the opportunities that either passively come our way, or are, better yet, actively sought out.
Mentoring is a way of raising up mature Christian disciples from the ranks of immature Christian disciples. In other words, those who have through experience reached Christian maturity can help younger Christians grow in Christ faster than they would on their own.
Paul’s letter to Titus instructs older Christians to teach younger Christians (Titus 2). Specifically, older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. (4-5)
Paul implies in verses 2 and 6 that the older men should also teach younger men by example.
“Older men,” “older women.” I don’t know if you have noticed it or not, but there are a fair amount of gray hairs sitting in this room! Seems to me that there is a wealth of stored experience and wisdom here ready to be passed along to those younger than we are.
A recent survey has indicated that “far from a leave us alone mentality, today’s young adults are very interested in learning from, interacting with, and forming bonds with previous generations. 45% of unchurched young adults identified the opportunity to receive advice from people with similar life experiences as very important. 68% of churched young adults identified the opportunity to receive advice from people with similar life experiences as very important.” 2
Mentoring can occur informally and be as simple as passing on a sweet piece of advice that is germane to a particular situation. When you hear someone say that they are about to pay back someone for a wrong, you can quote Proverbs 20:22:
Don’t retaliate and say, ‘I’m going to even the score.’
Wait for the LORD. He packs a bigger punch!”
Or perhaps it would be more helpful to share how your life is much better as a result of you forgiving someone that wronged you.
Or mentoring another can be more formal where you plan to spend a certain amount of time with someone addressing a certain subject that you and that person have deemed appropriate and helpful.
This message was partly inspired by Matthew Weber, who I learned has been engaged in mentoring. I asked him to share some insights he has about this process.
Here are some other simple mentoring principles I have dug out of this mentoring letter of II Timothy.
First, we must bathe mentoring in prayer.
In the first chapter of this letter, Paul writes, (Timothy), “night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers” (II Timothy 1:3b).
Ask God to provide you with insight concerning how you can help. And ask God to open the other person to be receptive to your advice.
Second, we must be sure that mentoring is influencing, not controlling, influencing.
Paul writes, “Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth” (II Timothy 2:25).
We don’t tell people what to do. People don’t respond well to being told what to do. They need to come to their own conclusions. Through your influence and gentle instruction; we can pray that God will change their minds.
Third, be vulnerable.
Paul was with Timothy. “As you know, everyone from the province of Asia has deserted me even Phygelus and Hermogenes” (II Timothy 1:15). Again, Paul admits to Timothy, “Endure suffering along with me” (II Timothy 2:3).
As you provide mentoring to another, be vulnerable. Follow Paul’s example, and be willing to share your struggles. Men, if you are mentoring another who is struggling with their marriage, be vulnerable enough to share your struggles and how you overcame them. Ladies, the same. Vulnerability leads to honesty.
Next, when trying to bring some correction to another person, I highly recommend doing your best to approach the situation from as positive a perspective as you are able.
I say that because in the fourth chapter of this letter, Paul asks Timothy to “Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry” II Timothy 4:11). This is noteworthy because a few years earlier, Paul and Mark had a serious disagreement and Paul didn’t want anything more to do with Mark. However; time gave Paul some much-needed perspective and allowed him to see Mark in a new light.
Many years ago, when John D. Rockefeller was running Standard Oil Company a senior exec made a decision that cost the company more than two million dollars. The day the news leaked, all the execs did their best to avoid running into Rockefeller lest his wrath fall on their heads. One of the partners, Edward Bedford, was scheduled to meet with the boss and although he wanted to cancel, did not. When he entered his boss’s office, he expected to hear loud complaints about the man who caused the loss. Instead, he found Rockefeller was busy writing and said, “Before I call in and correct the man who made the error, I thought it would be best to make some notes; would you look them over?
Bedford later told the story this way: “Across the top of the page was written, ‘Points in Favor of Mr. .’ There followed a long list of the man’s virtues, including a brief description of how he had helped the company make the right decision on three separate occasions that had earned many times the cost of his recent error.”
Bedford wrote, “I never forgot that lesson. In later years whenever I was tempted to criticize someone, I forced myself to sit down and thoughtfully compile as long a list of good points as I possibly could. Invariably, by the time I had finished my inventory, I would see the matter in an entirely different and true perspective.” 3
A positive perspective will go a long way toward helping you be the kind of mentor that other person needs you to be.
Lastly, and closely related to approaching your mentoring from a positive perspective as possible, be as affirming as you can be.
In this mentoring letter, Paul provides affirmation:
I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again. I remember your genuine faith.II Timothy 1:4-5
Dr. John Trent was leading a seminar on the importance of affirmation when afterward a woman told him a story about her son who had two little girls; one six years old and the other four. For a couple of years, he had been taking his older daughter out to a restaurant every other week for some special daddy-daughter time. The first time he took the four-year-old, they had just received their pancakes and he thought that would be a good time to begin to tell her how much he loved and appreciated her. “Jenny, I want you to know how much I love you and how special you are to mom and me.”
He picked up his fork for that first bite, but his daughter placed her little hand over her father’s and in a soft, pleading voice, said, “Longer daddy, longer.” He put down his fork and gave her some more reasons he loved and appreciated her and then he reached for his fork again. A second time, and a third and a fourth he heard the same words, “Longer daddy longer.” In other words, daddy, don’t stop telling me things like that. 4
That little four-year-old spoke for all of us. Is there anyone here this morning who doesn’t long to hear words of love and affirmation? We all crave love and affirmation. Persons that you mentor crave love and affirmation.
Sally Krall texted me this little ditty the other day: When a flashlight grows dim or quits working, do you just throw it away? Of course not; you change the batteries. When a person messes up finds themselves in a dark place, do you cast them aside? Of course not; you help them change their batteries. Some need AA batteries . . . affection and acceptance. Some need AAA . . . affection, acceptance and affirmation. Some need C . . . compassion; some need D . . . direction. And if they still don’t seem to shine, simply sit with them quietly and share your light. 5
Today I am asking all of us to consider how God might use us to shine His light and life into the lives of others in such a way that they will be blessed and so will the Kingdom of God.
1 Chip McGregor, ‘Mentoring’ in Stories for the Heart,
[Gresham, Oregon: Vision House Publishing, Inc. © 1996] Pages 105-106.
2 Have a mentor; Be a mentor – the biblical model of mentoring
by Lifeway Staff on Wednesday, January 01, 2014 at 7:00 AM
3 ‘Costly Error,’ Stories for a Man’s Heart, Compiled by Al and Alice Gray,
[Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, © 1999] Pages 119-120.
4 ‘Longer Daddy, Longer,’ Stories for a Man’s Heart, Compiled by Al and Alice Gray, [Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, © 1999] Pages 131-132.
5 Attributed to Rachel Dansby Freeman