I recently met with my Advisory Board and they encouraged me to pause from my monthly teaching series on Revelation and to share from my heart about the ministry. Each year I do a State of the Ministry report which is more about what I do whereas this will be more about why I feel led to do what I do. One of the tools I use in mentoring and life coaching is called a Life Map which asks three significant questions about one's relationship with and ministry for the Lord: 1) what is your passion?; 2) what is your mission?; and 3) what is your vision? (Note: This is for all the men I work with not just men in vocational ministry. All believers are full-time ministers for the Lord.) Passion relates to why we want to serve the Lord. It is the emotional/inspirational element of our desire to know and serve the Lord which energizes us to serve those He calls us to serve. Mission relates to how we carry out our desires to serve the Lord and His people. And vision relates to what the end result of our ministry will look like.
My passion is to reach men for Christ and influence them to change from living an empty, temporally-minded life (like Solomon speaks of in Ecclesiastes) as I did for the first thirty-eight years of my life, to living a passionate and zealous life for Jesus Christ like Paul did (as described in Philippians 3:7-14). My mission statement is "I am committed to grow in intimacy with Jesus Christ and to share Him deeply with others so we will be conformed to His likeness to the glory of God." (See Psalm 27:4; Luke 10:38-42; Phil. 3:10; Rom. 11:36) I do this through one-on-one mentoring and coaching, teaching the Scriptures at my Friday Morning Men's Fellowship, leading a monthly Bible study on Handbook to Leadership, leading a quarterly prayer retreat called A Day Alone with God to fast and pray at the Ignatius House Retreat Center and writing a weekly and monthly teaching letter.
One-on-one mentoring – face to face meetings.
Life-Coaching – Life Map/and on-going coaching as desired. Generally done by phone and e-mail.
Teaching the Scriptures – Friday Morn/Men's group; Monthly at CBI; weekly/monthly writings.
Prayer retreats – A Day Alone with God; quarterly at Ignatius House.
My vision is to "make" reproducing disciples for Christ who will be thoroughly equipped to make disciples for Christ in their own spheres of influence. (2 Timothy 2:2) Disciples are those who love Jesus Christ and obey His commands. (Matt. 28:18-20; John 14:21-23) My ministry philosophy is to focus on a few and go deep with them in Christ and is based on the classic book on discipleship by Robert Coleman called The Master Plan of Evangelism. Coleman outlines the eight key principles Jesus used in training the twelve apostles.
Let me elaborate further on my desire to teach the Scriptures. It is estimated that 94% of "Christians" have never read the entire Bible and only 6% read the Bible daily. We are warned many times in Scripture that false teachers have and will increasingly infiltrate the church. (Jesus called them wolves in sheep's clothing; Matt. 7:15) Liberal theology abounds today and heresies are coming forth in books and pulpits all across America. We are called to personally know God's Word (Deut. 6:6-7; Heb. 4:12-13; and Titus 1:6-9) and to be like the Bereans who "received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." (Acts 17:11) My burden for myself and those I work with is seen in Ezra 7:10: "Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the Lord and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel."
A few years after my conversion in 1982 I began to sense a calling to "teach the Word of God to businessmen." Having been in business for twenty-five years and knowing the stresses and temptations we all have to deal with I felt a desire to come along beside businessmen and business owners to assist and equip them for ministry in the marketplace. This is where men spend most of their waking hours and can be salt and light every day as they influence customers, suppliers and employees for Christ. I am blessed to see this happening in and through many of my brothers in Christ. With an ever decreasing attendance of church memberships all over our country, they are taking the church to the people Monday through Friday. (See Why Go to Work – Making 8:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday Count for Eternity at www.KenBoa.org/LenSykesmonthlyteaching September 2004
Finally let me elaborate on probably my greatest passion for God's people – spending much time alone with the Lord in worship, prayer and intercession based on Luke 10:38-42: "Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." Notice that our Lord says time alone with Him in worship (sitting at His feet) and listening to His Word (Spirit-led Bible study) is "the one thing needed." And He will never take that time away from us as He promised Mary. If we are too busy for this even in doing work for our Lord (as Martha was) we are busier than He wants us to be. "But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word." (Acts 6:4) This passage along with Ezra 7:10 are why I have set aside fixed times every week to spend "unhurried time alone with the Lord." And this is why we have the quarterly Day Alone with God. It gives men an opportunity to experience the tremendous blessing of doing just what Mary did and my prayer for those who come is that it will become that one thing needed in their lives.
"Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him." (2 Corinthians 5:9) My greatest motivation for serving the Lord is expressed here by Paul; to be pleasing to Him out of great gratitude for saving a wretch like me and giving me a life worth living – for Him and His eternal purposes for my life. And out of an ever growing love relationship with Him – the Lover of my soul. As the song says, I can only imagine what it will be like to at last stand before Him face to face, one-on-one, in all His glory. But as I think about that and long for that I so long to hear Him say: "Well done Len, my good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master." I desire and try to live each day in light of that Day and find it to be the greatest motivation to do His bidding and serve His people. And I hope that on that Day I may be able to say what the little drummer boy said, "I played my best for Him." A song I wrote years ago expresses that sentiment and I will close with it. Thank you for being a part of what the Lord graciously allows and empowers me to do.
GIVING YOU THE LIFE YOU GAVE TO ME
Oh help me Lord show me the way to grow in You each day
And realize that You are all I need.
Give me the words to make me know as I journey down life's road
That in You is everything in life.
Why do I search so desperately for other things why can't I see
That You are the way the truth the life?
For when I turn to You I find You give me all Your love Your time
Something that no one on earth can do.
To seek Your life will be my quest, I pray I'll never rest
Until I have given all to You.
And when I feel I'm almost there, touch my heart make me aware
That if I keep on searching I'll find more.
Let my whole life be a prayer to receive Your love and share
This life abundant that You give to me.
And when I leave this earthly place, I pray Your love and grace
Will live in hearts I've touched along the way.
So I offer up to You a prayer to see me through
To seek You first each moment in my life.
Not just the blessings that You give but the life that I can live
By giving You the life You gave to me.
"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him." (Romans 12:1)
Until He comes,
Len and Kristen
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