My advisory team and several friends encouraged me to do this report on an annual basis. It gives an overall view of the ministry and some new venues the Lord is calling us into. I'll list these different forums in order of the amount of time invested.
"The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out." (Proverbs 20:5) This continues to be my most enjoyable ministry and seemingly the most helpful. I personally find it so meaningful to meet with Ken Boa, who has been mentoring and discipling me since 1986, and share my heart and receive counsel and wisdom from God's Word through him. At the present time I am meeting with 21 men on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. I appreciate their trusting me with some of the deep concerns and issues in their life. Our meetings involve different things from a lot of listening, counseling through Scripture, teaching the Scriptures through books and Bible study, as well as praying, coaching and encouraging them over a two hour face-to-face meeting. Then we stay in touch by phone, e-mail and other ministry forums in between meeting times. The overall goal is growth in Christ and conformity to His image as each man increasingly discovers his understanding of God's unique purpose for his life learned through the life lessons God uses to shape us for His glory as expressed in the following Scriptures: "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." "For we are God's workmanship (masterpiece), created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 1:17-19; 2:10)
FRIDAY MORNING MEN'S FELLOWSHIP
"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." "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." (Ephesians 4:11-13; Hebrews 10:24-25) We are now in our fourteenth year of "meeting together" 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 then moved across the street to Piccadilly. The purpose of our time is twofold as seen by the Scriptures above: to equip men for ministry and provide fellowship for encouragement and accountability. 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. Several 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/or to join our group for discipleship and fellowship. Last month my good friend Rick Sauers, President and CEO of Atlanta Web Printers and an outstanding businessman and Christian, shared his heartfelt testimony of his love for the Lord and his passion as summed up in this verse: "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." (Acts 20:24) We had about thirty-five guests, one of whom received the Lord and several of the men have joined our fellowship.
QUEST FOR AUTHENTIC MANHOOD – WINNING AT WORK AND AT HOME
"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." (1 Corinthians 15:45, 49 ) This is the second course from Men's Fraternity and once again an excellent teaching and curriculum by Dr. Robert Lewis. In April 2005 eight men completed the first course – a 24-week study on what it means to be a man in the image of Jesus Christ. And on June 19 eight men will complete WINNING AT WORK AND AT HOME which focuses on loving our wives, parenting our children and working on our careers, doing our jobs with excellence to the glory of God. As much as I have read and studied on Christ-like masculinity, this is some of the best material and teaching I have experienced. I am pleased that it is now being reproduced across the city through some of the men I disciple.
REVIVAL PRAYER GROUP
"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." "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." (Revelation 5:8; 1 Timothy 2:1-2) In September 1998 I felt led to call men to join me in prayer every Monday morning from 7:00-8:00 a.m. to pray for revival across Atlanta and the world beginning with our own lives. We worship the Lord together in songs of praise (the harps) and pray and intercede (the prayers) for our churches, pastors, 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.
A DAY ALONE WITH GOD
"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." "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."" "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." (Luke 5:16; 11:1; Isaiah 40:31) 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. Last year I began to invite men to join me every other month and now we are having fifteen to twenty men come out for A Day Alone with God at the Ignatius House in Sandy Springs. We meet from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to avoid Atlanta traffic. I prepare a teaching and prayer guide on different topics such as Intimacy with Jesus, Learning the humility of Jesus, etc., and teach for the first hour and half to give an overview of the material the men will pray through. They each then spend five hours alone with the Lord in a private room to read and pray through the prayer guide and journal their responses to the Lord. We then re-gather for a time of sharing our experience of how the Lord met with us to refresh, guide, instruct or convict us. I am continually amazed and blessed at how the Lord speaks to and ministers to each man so personally. Recently as we shared our personal experiences with the Lord I realized we were experiencing the Body of Christ ministering to one another across denominational lines and through the unique callings and giftings of each man. "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." (Ephesians 4: 15-16) Altogether, this time apart serves to encourage the men to spend more time alone with the Lord on a regular basis.
MONTHLY ACCOUNTABILITY GROUPS
"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." (See Luke 6:12-19) Henri Nouwen did a wonderful teaching on this passage emphasizing the importance of and the order of these three events – Solitude (time alone with the Lord), Community (calling the 12 to co-labor with Him) and then Ministry (the power to reach out to others and bring Christ's love and healing). The first Monday of the month I meet with a group 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 and to be refreshed and empowered by Him? (Solitude) Are we in a community of faith where we regularly both give and receive spiritual strength and encouragement? (Community) And lastly, and in that order, are we giving our lives away in ministry to reach people with the love and truth of Jesus Christ? (Ministry) One of the men in a previous group split off and began using this format with some men in his church. It is always a blessing to see men reproduce some of the ministry venues that they have been involved in with me.
MONTHLY TEACHING LETTER
"For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you:" "Brothers (and sisters too), pray for us."
(1 Corinthians 11:23; 1 Thessalonians 5:25) 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 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 pray for us for God to enable and empower us to carry out the work He has called us to. Thank you for your prayers.
"I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord." (Psalm 122:1) Kristen and I enjoy and are greatly blessed at our church, the Atlanta Vineyard. We both serve on the Prayer Ministry Team and meet one-on one with several of the men and women (Kristen) in the church. We also meet weekly with a wonderful home group that is a great encouragement to both of us.
"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." (Philippians 4:16-19) We only receive financial support from those we serve and those who believe in our work. I have no other source of income. We receive about 75% of our budgeted income each month and the balance through special one time gifts during the slow summer months and year-end gifts. Would you pray about joining our monthly financial support team and/or sending a special gift at this time? You can do this by mailing your donation check in the envelope included in my monthly newsletter or through automatic deposits. We send our thanks to many of you for being God's means of provision for these seventeen years of ministry. We have not lacked anything we need. So we praise God and thank you.
In His Grip,
Len and Kristen
SEE SCHEDULED ACTIVITES, TIMES AND LOCATIONS FOR UPCOMING EVENTS BELOW
|Revival Prayer Meeting||Atlanta Web Printers
1585 Roadhaven Drive
Stone Mountain, GA
|Quest For Authentic Manhood||
Atlanta Web Printers
February – June
|One Piedmont Center
Atlanta Web Printers
|Call to schedule
|Men's Fellowship Meeting||Piccadilly
2000 Crescent Centre Blvd.
|Atlanta Web Printers
1585 Roadhaven Drive
Stone Mountain, GA
|Bi-Monthly, A Day
Alone With God
|St. Ignatius House
Sandy Springs, GA
7:00 A.M. –
|Retreats||Call to schedule