Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve Jones here… Fathers and mothers are different. I guess that’s why we celebrate them on different Sundays. Moms buy a lot of protective gear. Dads buy band-aids. Moms say, “You worry me too much!” Dads say, “Hey, don’t worry too much!”
Jesus loved like a mother, but taught like a father. Jesus coached by doing. He apprenticed through activity. He mentored by walking with them. They watched Jesus do it. Then they did it with Jesus. And then Jesus watched them do it – sending them out in groups of 72, 12, and 3.
This approach helped the disciples build character and finally finish well.
Years back, I read the news story of a pastor and his family driving along Interstate 94 in Wisconsin, when their minivan was hit by a piece of road debris. A large bracket had fallen off a truck in front of them. The pastor and his wife were up front while their six children rode in the back seats. The bracket hit the van’s gas tank and it burst into flames. The parents survived, one child was injured and the other five children all died on scene.
What became so memorable for me was the parents’ response to their beloved children’ death. It was reported that the mother said to their father:
“This is what God has been preparing us for all of our lives!”
That comment still gives me chills. And I assure you, that kind of response, that measure of trust was not generated at the very point of impact. That kind of CHARACTER had been developing for a very long time. A deep abiding conviction that God can be trusted no matter what happens. It is this kind of character that enables men to finish well.
Joe Stowell has a term for the spiritual apathy he sees in so many men. He calls them “SMO Christians” – Sunday MorningOnly Christians.
The issue is not so much our attendance pattern, but our pattern of behaviour divulging the lack of spiritual passion in our lives. We say one thing, but our actions speak louder than words. And our kids and grandkids are watching.
We’re all prone to wander. To do stupid things we regret. We join the ranks of those who did something inconsistent with everything they said they believed:
The top two things men (fathers) must constantly look out for, if any of us are ever to finish well, are pride and purity. Win these two and much fruit follows.
Boast in the Lord, not in ourselves, and keep our pride in check.
Rather than feeding our thought lives, keep it captive and live a pure life.
Do this and we will come to the finish line and find Jesus greeting us with a smile.
HELP from PROMISE KEEPERS Canada
The Executive Director of Promise Keepers is Kirk Giles. Kirk and his family attend a Fellowship Baptist Church in Ontario. I met with Kirk a few months back. I asked him to briefly tell you about Promise Keepers (PK) and how this men’s ministry might help you and your church:
“Promise Keepers Canada’s mission is to ignite and equip men to have a Godly impact. For the past twenty years, they are most known for hosting men’s conferences that reach approximately 10,000 men in Canada each year. But they also have a great passion to see men strengthened in the local church. As a ministry, they provide leadership training, coaching, workshops, and resources for local churches to access in their efforts to help men become, grow and live as disciples of Jesus. You can learn more about PK Canada by visiting www.promisekeepers.ca .”
In a recent email from Kirk, he mentioned that 52% of Canadian men believe watching pornography is always or usually morally acceptable.
Go online to PK for tools to help men remain humble and pure.
In fact, in May PK launched a first in Canada – a Bible College and Seminary course on Men’s Ministry in partnership with Heritage College and Seminary, one of our three Fellowship Schools.
I encourage you to check out Promise Keepers Canada’s website.
Two thousand years ago Stephen was given a very difficult assignment. He was to preach to a hostile religious crowd and present Jesus Christ to them. His speech was brilliant. But the crowd turned against him.
They picked up rocks and stoned him to death. As the stones hit Stephen,
Acts 7:55-56 tells us:
“Stephen full of the Holy Spirit looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus STANDING at the right hand of God.”
The Bible typically describes Jesus as SITTING at the right hand of God. But for Stephen, Jesus was STANDING. The Lord stood and gave Stephen a standing ovation.
Finish well my friends. Finish humble and pure. And know that once in a while you may even “amaze” Jesus along the way.
Have a blessed week,