My advisory team and friends encourage 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.
This continues to be my most enjoyable ministry and seemingly the most helpful. At the present time I am meeting with 21 men on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. I appreciate them 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 character as each man increasingly discovers 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) Likewise, I continue to benefit from my time with Ken Boa, who has been mentoring and discipling me since 1986. Recently I have renewed my relationship with a former mentor, Rev. Tom Belt, who helped lead me to Jesus and discipled me early on in my walk. Tom and Lucy have now moved back to Atlanta and I am blessed to spend some one on one time with Tom. We all need a Paul (mentor), a Barnabas (friend) and a Timothy (disciple) in our life. Spiritual growth comes from both giving and receiving God's love and truth through in-depth, honest and accountable relationships. Without these relationships our spiritual growth is stunted and our influence on our families, workplace and community is minimized.
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." (Eph. 4:11-12) "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." (Hebrews 10:24-25) We are now going into our fifteenth 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 questions related to the message. The Lord has blessed us with several men who are gifted teachers and now they help me in bringing the message from time to time. We also hear the testimonies of the other men in the group and learn from their personal experiences with our Lord. 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 business leader or an 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.
LEADERSHIP BIBLE STUDY
Recently I began a monthly Bible Study at CBI, a construction company, with the owner and my friend Steve Head, his men and some of our friends near Steve's office. I serve as a chaplain for his company. This study is based on a book Ken Boa co-authored called Handbook to Leadership. It has four parts: 52-Week Leadership Guide, Topical Leadership Guide, Leadership Character Studies, and Books of the Bible Leadership Guide. We are focusing on the 52 different leadership qualities divided up into three areas: Personal Development, Skill Development, and Relational Development. Here is what the authors say about the book: "The major focus of the Bible's teachings on leadership centers on two concepts: 1) The leader's character counts more than any other factor of leadership and that character is best molded and shaped by Jesus' own teachings. 2) The only approach to leading that Jesus validates for His followers is Servant Leadership – equipping others to be the best they can possibly be." The book always looks at God first as the model for the various leadership qualities and then how God's people in Scripture emulate Him as an example for us. Personally, I think it is the best book on Leadership ever written for it is based solely on God's Word.
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 and meet with the Lord in prayer. This time away has truly been a constant source of refreshment from "weariness and fainting" as I retreat to "lonely places" and pray. Then I began to invite men to join me every other month and now we are having twenty to twenty-five men come out for A Day Alone with God to fast and pray at the Ignatius House in Sandy Springs. We begin early at 7:00 a.m. and conclude at 3:00 p.m. to avoid Atlanta traffic rush hours. 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 a 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. As we share our personal experiences with the Lord we experience the Body of Christ ministering to one another across denominational lines and through the unique callings and giftings of each man as seen in Ephesians 4: 15-16: "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." Altogether, this time apart serves to encourage the men to spend more time alone with the Lord on a regular basis to be renewed, instructed and empowered by Him.
"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. 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.
"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 receive financial support from those we serve and those who believe in our work. I have no other source of income. Our budgeted income comes from monthly partners and through special one time gifts such as year-end gifts and special requests if we experience a deficit. Would you pray about joining our monthly financial support team and/or sending a special year-end gift at this time? You can do this by mailing your donation check in the enclosed envelope or go to www.KenBoa.org and click on Reflections/donations and scroll to Len Sykes. Call Heather Cottingham 404-842-0707 for any questions. We send our thanks to many of you for being God's means of provision for these eighteen years of ministry. We have not lacked anything we need and we praise God and thank you.
In it with you,
Len and Kristen