Where Mentoring Goes Wrong

Mentorship Concept.This article originally appeared here on the Christianity Today blog.

Why do good discipling relationships derail?

 

 

Through the mentor’s eyes

Sharon scooted between cars, hurrying through the stifling parking lot to make the meeting on time. Although only August, she already felt the pressure of a busy fall schedule. She was unsure how becoming a mentor would fit, but involvement in the life of a younger woman interested her. At least she was willing to attend the training meeting and see what it was all about.

Refreshed by the cool air in the room, Sharon found a chair. Looking around at other women, a wave of nervousness rushed over her. Was she even qualified to mentor?  During the next hour, she learned the requirements of the mentoring program, looked over the recommended mentoring resources, filled out a personal profile, and signed up to bring a dessert for the kick-off event. Still the question nagged:  Did she really have enough wisdom to do this?  Probably not, she thought, but her love for God and young women encouraged her to press on.

Two weeks later at the kick-off event, an eager greeter handed Sharon a bright green crayon and instructed her to find the young woman with the same color crayon as hers—”‘Caribbean Green.’  Isn’t it peppy?” Sharon returned the beaming smile, grateful for a game to help her find her mentee. The energy-filled room lifted her spirits. This was fun! She leisurely worked the room, smiling and displaying her crayon as she went…

~ By: Sue Edwards and Barbara Neumann

Click here to read the rest of the story on the Christianity Today Leadership Journal Blog.

Give as you Can.

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“According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 darics of gold, 5,000 minas of silver and 100 priestly garments.” (Ezr 2:69)

 

 

The seemingly eternal question: how much should I give? If we have moved on from, “Should I give?” to the next stage, the question remains. We are called to give “according to our ability.” Each one of us has been blessed in different ways and with different measure. We are to give according to our resources, yet we all have a part to play.

It is not the amount or even the proportion, but we are all able and willing to be a part of God’s work and a reflection of His heart. Look at what God has already blessed you with.

Decide in your thankful heart what to give, and give cheerfully according to your ability.

Quick Prayer: Thank You that You ask me to give according to what You have already given me. Amen.

best regards and God bless,

 

 

About Mark Bilton

This article is Copyright © 2014, Called To Business, All Rights Reserved. Republished with permission. Mark is Founder of “Called to Business” (www.calledtobusiness.com). The mission of his organization is to encourage and equip Christians to be effective at WORK. And his desire is to affirm God’s calling in you; to enhance business leadership and influence, and to unlock the potential of your God given talents. Mark and his family live in Auckland, New Zealand.

Why do Christians sometimes (or often) act like such jerks?

This article originally appeared here on the Missio Alliance blog.

Ok so maybe that’s quite a blunt way of asking ‘Why, while believing in what is good and right, do I choose to think in a way and engage in behaviour that accords with a “lesser version” of myself?’

I’ve asked this question for some time but I think it comes to the surface even more at the beginning of a new year when we are reminded from pulpits everywhere that we are a new creation in Christ and also by our broader world that this is a perfect time to set some New Year’s resolutions so that we can improve and be better people this year.

We enthusiastically respond by nodding to the truth that in Christ we are a new creation and we agree that it is good to set some goals for the New Year, so we faithfully set out to practice these truths. But inevitably we sooner or later hit a wall when we experience that our ideals quite often fail to measure up to reality. Everyone has experienced this dissonance no matter how long we have been followers of Jesus.

A godly and mature Christian friend when we were talking about this recently, said that he holds close to his heart values like generosity, care for the poor and compassion however as he walked past a homeless person once, he thought and felt the exact opposite of those values regarding that person. I can say that I’ve experienced a similar thing! I would guess that we all struggle daily as we sit in the uncomfortable gap between what ought to be and what in reality is. There’s no need to beat ourselves up about this gap but perhaps we need to think about what does in fact bring about deep transformation in our lives so that our behaviour more matches our status as new creations in Christ…~ By:

Click here to read the rest of the story on the Missio Alliance blog.

Time to Give.

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“So that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” (Deu 14:29)

 Those of us who have been provided for have an obligation to meet the needs of others. In this case it is those who work fulltime for the church, foreigners, and those who have had misfortune in the loss of fathers and husbands, who were the providers of the time.

There are two groups that are a priority for God: those without finances and those who serve in church. We would do well to neglect neither.

There is a consequence attached to the actions we take. If we obey and provide for the poor and church workers, God Himself will bless us in all the work of our hands—that is, in our work at work.

Quick Prayer: Bless me as I give to Your house and the poor. Lord, according to Your Word may it be done to me. Amen.

 Best regards and God bless.

 

About Mark Bilton

This article is Copyright © 2014, Called To Business, All Rights Reserved. Republished with permission. Mark is Founder of “Called to Business” (www.calledtobusiness.com). The mission of his organization is to encourage and equip Christians to be effective at WORK. And his desire is to affirm God’s calling in you; to enhance business leadership and influence, and to unlock the potential of your God given talents. Mark and his family live in Auckland, New Zealand.

What is more important?

called-to-business“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” (Mat 23:23)

 

There is a lot of chatter in churches about giving. If we were to be perfectly transparent with each other, it is usually by leaders who want you to give more and churchgoers looking to give less.

Is giving important? Yes it is, and it should not be neglected. But more important is justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These are the behaviors we should covet and endeavor to have in abundance.

Please give, and give regularly and generously, but never forget the priorities that are the fruit of a life transformed by Jesus: faithfulness, mercy, and justice.

Quick Prayer: Thank You for the pattern and discipline of regular giving. Amen.

About Mark Bilton

This article is Copyright © 2014, Called To Business, All Rights Reserved. Republished with permission. Mark is Founder of “Called to Business” (www.calledtobusiness.com). The mission of his organization is to encourage and equip Christians to be effective at WORK. And his desire is to affirm God’s calling in you; to enhance business leadership and influence, and to unlock the potential of your God given talents. Mark and his family live in Auckland, New Zealand.

Giving as Worship

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“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (Mat 2:11)

 

When Jesus was a young child, the wise men came and worshipped Him. Then they gave Him gifts. This was a part of the act of paying homage to the newborn king. They honored Him with their giving.

 We too are called to worship in our giving. Sometimes we can be moved to bring something of value to Him. It is not giving to a church or to a worthy cause but just giving something of value to Him, to worship and to adore.

I am not sure how that transaction occurs in our hearts, but it is certainly saying you are worth more to me than gold.

Quick Prayer: I just want to worship and adore You. Amen.

About Mark Bilton

This article is Copyright © 2014, Called To Business, All Rights Reserved. Republished with permission. Mark is Founder of “Called to Business” (www.calledtobusiness.com). The mission of his organization is to encourage and equip Christians to be effective at WORK. And his desire is to affirm God’s calling in you; to enhance business leadership and influence, and to unlock the potential of your God given talents. Mark and his family live in Auckland, New Zealand.

What shows the love of God?

called-to-business“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” (1 John 3:17)

How is the love of God demonstrated in us? What is the way in which our faith is demonstrated and evidenced? This powerful Scripture speaks to the reaction we have to those in need around us.

Quick Prayer: Show me a physical need I can meet today please, Lord. Amen.

I had this verse printed on my checks. Back in the day before the proliferation electronic commerce, I used to write a lot of checks. It made me think about my priorities every time I wrote one out.

There are practical physical needs we can meet every day. Will we walk on by and have no pity, or will the love of God in us compel us to act?

Quick Prayer: Show me a physical need I can meet today please, Lord. Amen.

About Mark Bilton

This article is Copyright © 2014, Called To Business, All Rights Reserved. Republished with permission. Mark is Founder of “Called to Business” (www.calledtobusiness.com). The mission of his organization is to encourage and equip Christians to be effective at WORK. And his desire is to affirm God’s calling in you; to enhance business leadership and influence, and to unlock the potential of your God given talents. Mark and his family live in Auckland, New Zealand.

Thanks for the Opportunity to Exercise Grace and Forgiveness

Mercy and GraceIs the Bible command to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), impractical, unreasonable, or outdated? I don’t think so. In fact, it’s in those times when we are most unwilling to give thanks that we can grow the most in love of God and others.

When others disappoint us, we have a choice…to get angry, get even, or give thanks. It may not be easy, but the Godly choice is to give thanks.

I have a favorite saying, “Thanks for the opportunity to exercise grace and forgiveness.” I use this phrase when someone stands me up, lets me down, or treats me in a way I would rather not be treated. Sometimes I say this to the person, and sometimes it’s just a quiet prayer I say to myself. It helps remind me that we are all fallible and in need of grace by God and others. And we will also need that grace and forgiveness returned when we treat others poorly or let someone else down.

So give thanks in ALL circumstances. The next time someone upsets you or hurts you, remember to say “Thanks for the opportunity to exercise grace.”

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

This is Love-1 John 4:7-11

1 John 4: 7-11I really enjoy the writing of the apostle John. He truly embraced the command to love one another and he taught us to do the same.

And this is not just a world teaching. John always ties the command to love one another back to the life modeled by Jesus Christ.

[Read more...]

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Do You Love or Hate Your Christian Brothers and Sisters?

love and hate words

We are commanded by Jesus and the apostles to love one another. Hating one another is a sin. But the apostle John says it like this:
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About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Do You Know Jesus?

do-you-know-himDo you really know Jesus? Let’s see about that…

1 John 2:3-6 NIV

“We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”
[Read more...]

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

You Have Been Cleansed

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I’ve noticed that some Christians seem to agonize over past sins. But when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we have been cleansed.

I came across the following verses during my reading this morning. I think they make the point better than I can.

2 Peter 1:3-11 NIV

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.   For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.   Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

So what past sins are you still agonizing over?

It’s about time you left the past in the past and started living an effective and productive life for God going forward.

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Make a Covenant With Your Eyes-Job 31

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Editor’s Note: This article is directed toward Men and our lust and fleshly temptations. However women, you can still benefit from this article by thinking of your own lusts and temptations.

In the area of sexual purity, how can I be like Job, whom God called a “blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil?”

Make a Covenant with your Eyes

Sometimes we get comfortable with our sin and need to draw a line in the sand and determine to stay on the side of purity. I see that Job called out ogling women as sin. It is not ok for me to let my eyes wander, looking for the most shapely woman around and the gazing at her. We need to make a commitment like Job did to not ogle women.

Job 31:1, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; How then could I gaze at a virgin?”

Don’t Let your Step Turn from the Way

If I am to keep the covenant with my eyes, I need to stay on my own path and not look for “greener” pastures nearby.

Have you ever altered your path so that you will come face to face with a beautiful woman? Perhaps you were on the way to self-checkout but noticed an attractive woman in the next line over and stepped over to that line instead. Have you picked up the TV remote to find the game but paused to watch a lingerie ad before flipping to the sports channel? I confess that I have many times changed my course of action based on the presence of a shapely woman on another path. If I am to keep the covenant with my eyes, I need to stay on my own path and not look for “greener” pastures nearby. I must lift my eyes to the Lord and not turn from my path.

Job 31:7, “If my step has turned from the way…”

My Heart Follows my Eyes

As much as our flesh and the world tell us that it is ok just to look, Job knows better. Our heart follows our eyes. Job would not give his heart to the woman filling water jugs at his well or the migrant woman seeking shelter. Do you give your heart to the woman jogging along the roadside or the one in front of you in the checkout line? Job dedicated his heart to his own wife and to God. It is easy to make that commitment, but to keep it, we must remember that our heart follows our eyes. To keep your heart pure, lift your eyes to the Lord as soon as you notice a temptation.

Job 31:7, “or my heart followed my eyes…”

My Heart, Enticed by a Woman

James tells us that when we are tempted, we are carried away and enticed by our own lust; lust conceives sin and sin death (see James 1:12-15). One might draw from James that looking at a woman is ok if you do not get carried away and lust after her. Knowing my own sinful flesh, I know how quickly my heart follows my eyes–my look can instantly become a gaze and before I know it, I am carried away and enticed to lust. Again, the best way to keep your heart pure is to lift your eyes to the Lord as soon as you notice a temptation. Do not give the devil an opportunity.

Job 31:9, “If my heart has been enticed by a woman…”

Have I Lurked?

In the Bible we read about men who saw a beautiful woman in another man’s house (the prime example is Bathsheba, taking a bath no less, in 2nd Samuel 11). Without air conditioning, I suspect doors and windows were open and curtains pushed to the side to allow air flow. A man might be able to see a lot by lurking near his neighbor’s doorway in those days. I don’t face that temptation, but how have I lurked? Ican recall some instances in my past where a woman was bent over helping a child or doing something else requiring her to bend over. Not only have I turned my steps from the way I was headed to catch a glimpse down her blouse, I have even stopped in my tracks to admire the view. Lurking. Lusting. I should follow Joseph’s example and run away rather than remain near temptation (Genesis 39). If a tempting view is in my site, I would do well to remove myself from the situation.

Job 31:9, “..or I have lurked at my neighbor’s doorway”

My Lustful Crime

but I would much rather hear “good and faithful servant” regarding my personal purity, then the shame of imagining how many lashes my Lord received so that I could look and lust after women.

A glance may start out harmless, but my heart quickly desires and becomes enticed to lust. Gazing at women, turning aside to look at them, hanging around to enjoy the view, these are all sins, crimes worthy of punishment. Jesus Christ has already taken the punishment for these sins and I am not condemned, but I would much rather hear “good and faithful servant” regarding my personal purity, then the shame of imagining how many lashes my Lord received so that I could look and lust after women. No more!

Job 31:11, “For that would be a lustful crime…”

Make that Covenant with your Eyes, but not in your own Strength.

When I have tried to keep that covenant based on NOT looking at women and NOT putting myself in a place of temptation, I have always failed. When I have found consistent success, my focus has immediately shifted from the temptation to the Lord who delivers me. Lift your eyes away from temptation and to the Lord. Seek His will in all that you do. Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh (Gal 5:16).

How to Know God’s Will

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One of the most common statements I hear from fellow Christians is “How do I know what God’s will is for my life?” Knowing God’s will would seem to be some elusive, unachievable Goal that only prophets, pastors, saints, and “other people” can attain. But that’s simply not true.

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About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Put Your Faith to Work

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Anytime we as Christians focus on the things we are “supposed to do” or “not supposed to do”, the topic of salvation by works or salvation by faith gets discussed. I’m a big believer that faith and works are eternally interconnected. In other words, works apart from faith are worthless, but faith apart from works is equally worthless. Here are some relevant bible passages:
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About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White