My advisory team has suggested that I share a big picture view of the ministry with all of you, as I am involved with many different ministry forums and many different groups of men. This will also give me an opportunity to give thanks and praise to God for all He is doing in the lives of those we are privileged to serve. I’ll list these different forums in order of the amount of time invested.
Proverbs 20:5 "The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out." 1 Corinthians 4:15 "Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel." I have the great privilege of sharing the deep issues of life with a number of men. At the present time I am working with 20 men on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. This involves listening, counseling through Scripture, teaching the Scriptures through books and Bible study, praying, coaching and encouraging over a two hour face-to- face meeting and staying in touch by phone, e-mail and other ministry forums in between meeting times. The goal of this time is nothing less than conformity to Christ as each man discovers God’s unique purpose for his life and lives it out to God’s glory as expressed in the following Scriptures: Ephesians 1:17-19 "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God’s workmanship, (masterpiece) created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
FRIDAY MORNING MEN’S FELLOWSHIP
Ephesians 4:11-13 "It was he (Jesus Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." Hebrews 10:24-25 "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching." We are now in our twelfth year in meeting each Friday morning from 7:00-8:00 a.m. as a group of men from various businesses and church denominations. We began at Chili’s and recently moved across the street to Piccadilly. I teach from the Scriptures for the first part of the hour then we split up in small groups and discuss Christian books or books of the Bible that we have chosen to study together. We share our praises and our prayer needs and pray for and encourage one another. Three to four times a year we have an evangelistic outreach and invite a well-known business leader or athlete to share his testimony and the gospel and give an invitation for our guests whom we have invited to receive the Lord and join our group for discipleship and fellowship.
QUEST FOR AUTHENTIC MANHOOD
1 Corinthians15:45,49 "So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being" ; the last Adam (Jesus), a life-giving spirit. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven." Ten men have joined me on Monday nights to participate in a 26-week study on what it means to be a man in the image of Jesus. Jesus teaches us how to, unlike Adam the first man, reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously and expect God’s (not the world’s) greater reward. We are taught by Dr. Robert Lewis via DVD and then share our responses to the questions from our workbooks. Each of us will write out our own manhood plan as we unpack the wounds and sins from the past, look at the issues we as men face now and prepare for the future by seeking the vision God has for our lives. As much as I have read and studied on Christlike masculinity, this is some of the best material and teaching I have experienced. (See Men’s Fraternity.com for information on this course.)
REVIVAL PRAYER GROUP
Revelation 5:8 "And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints." 1 Timothy 2:1-2 "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." In September 1998 I felt led to call men to join me in prayer every Monday morning from 7:00-8:00 a.m. We worship the Lord together in songs of praise (the harps) and pray and intercede (the prayers) for our churches, families, friends, leaders, our country and the world so that God, in His mercy, might send a mighty outpouring of His Spirit to revive His people and gather in the lost. We have seen the Lord answer so many prayers and keep us personally revived. He fills us up so we can fulfill the Great Commission. One of our prayers has been for the Lord to raise up a 24-hour-seven-day-a-week house of prayer from the model of one in Kansas City, Missouri (IHOP –INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PRAYER). Recently the Lord answered this prayer and IHOP for Atlanta has begun. If you are in the Stone Mountain-Tucker area we invite you to join us in prayer.
DAY OF PRAYER
Luke 5:16 "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Luke 11:1 "One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."" Isaiah 40:31 "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." In 1992 a friend and mentor of mine challenged me to take a day every month (24 hours) and meet with the Lord in prayer. This time away each month has truly been a constant source of refreshment from “weariness and fainting” as I retreat to “lonely places” and pray. Over the years a number of my friends have graciously provided their lake house or mountain cabin for my time away. The present mountain home, offered by one of our board members, has four houses on 800 acres of beautiful woods, mountain creeks and ponds and I have begun to invite other men to join me for a day of prayer. I begin with a teaching on prayer and after a time of worship the men disperse to a prayer room (inside or outside depending on the weather) and spend 5 hours alone in prayer. We then regather for a time of sharing our experience of how the Lord met with us to refresh, guide, instruct or convict us.
MONTHLY ACCOUNTABILITY GROUPS
Luke 6:12-19 "One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all." Henri Nouwen did a wonderful teaching on this passage emphasizing the importance of the order of events – solitude (time alone with the Lord), community (calling the 12 to co-labor with Him) and then ministry (the power to touch and bring healing to others). The first Monday of the month, I meet with two different groups of men and we encourage each other to stay faithful to the pattern Jesus taught us through this example. Are we spending much time alone with the Lord to worship Him (the Great Commandment) and to be refreshed and empowered by Him? Are we in a community of faith where we regularly both give and receive strength and encouragement so we can continue to serve those God places in our lives? And lastly, and in that order, are we giving our lives away in ministry to touch people with the love and truth of Jesus Christ (the Great Commission)?
MONTHLY TEACHING LETTER
1 Corinthians 11:23 “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you:”
1 Thessalonians 5:25 "Brothers (and sisters too), pray for us." My monthly letter is to simply try to pass on and communicate to you what the Lord has been teaching me. It helps me to have to write it out to reinforce and remember what the Lord is showing me. Hopefully this is edifying to you and we also hope it will be a reminder to remember us in prayer for God to enable and empower us to carry out the work He has called us to. Thank you for your prayers.
See Philippians 4:16-19 "You sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your (eternal) account. I am amply supplied, now that I have received the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." From 2001 to the present we have experienced a deficit in our budgeted allowance of $22,835. The Board allows us to recoup our deficits if we receive finances in excess of our current budgeted income. We pray you might remember us in your year-end giving as we hope to recoup this loss. However, we would be remiss if we did not give all praise to God and thanks to many of you for being His means of provision for these fifteen years of ministry. We have not lacked anything we need. So we praise God and thank you.
Until He comes,
Len and Kristen